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Microaggressions are the everyday slights, insults, putdowns, invalidations, and offensive behaviors that people experience in daily interactions with generally well-intentioned individuals who may be unaware that they have engaged in demeaning ways. (adapted from Sue et al., 2007)

Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS)

  • Address and extinguish microaggressions, promote microaffirmations. The danger of microaggression is in consistent, orthodontic effect.
  • Examples of racial microaggressions  
  • There may be four (or more) psychological dilemmas rooted in experience with microaggressions. It is critical to note that whether an encounter is considered a micro- or macro-aggression is entirely up to the individuals involved.  
    • Clash of realities: speaker does not intend harm while listener experiences a reflection of bias. (e.g. use of incorrect pronouns with gender nonconforming people- listener is aggravated that this continually occurs but cisgender speakers view their behaviors as honest mistakes which are common or even accurate.  
    • Invisibility of unintentional bias: we are socialized to assimilate biases due to systemic oppression and the related ‘superiority’ of dominant groups (e.g. cisgender people may not see there are no gender-neutral restrooms due to belief ‘only two kinds of restrooms needed: one for men and one for women’).  
    • Perceived minimal harm: many people, particularly of privileged groups, may see microaggressions as being unimportant or too minor to warrant discussion because the specific incidents are innocuous or mistakes; but when they occur often it leads to an accumulation which can negatively affect colleagues and the workplace.  
    • Catch 22: exemplifies why it is often difficult to respond to microaggressions because  
      • Varied perspectives, everyone does not view the incident the same  
      • There usually are repercussions for confronting the speaker  
      • The listener may not have the energy, time or mental energy to engage   
  • Segment on microaggressions and the impact on teenagers on ABC’s Good Morning America   
  • A framework of how to respond to microaggressions developed by Georgetown University School of Medicine 
    • Three basic components: STOP, TALK, ROLL  
      • STOP: hit pause on the interaction and assess the situation. This could mean deciding whether or not to address it right then and there or recognize the need for time to process and decide what actions to take next.  
      • TALK: what could possibly be said in the context of the scenario right then and there, whether it is addressing what just happened or diffusing a situation until a safer opportunity to address it.  
      • ROLL: seek out support in debriefing the situation and/or also how to respond to the situation or if it’s best to respond to the situation.   
      • There are more resources available for students.



Self-talk: Set or reset yourself

Check mark in a box

  • I can be uncomfortable to make all students comfortable.
  • I want to be inclusive and have much to learn. 
  • Correction and error will help me get to my goal of inclusivity. 
  • This is not about me and my intent. 
  • Am I in a learning posture? Or defending something (what?)? 




The JEDI Toolkit is a resource created by faculty members in the Health Sciences Department to provide guidance and recommendations to health care providers and educators who would like to learn more about equity and inclusion.