No Offense: The Dilemma over Unintended Racism
They are small, almost invisible. They are being spotted on college campuses from UCLA to the University of Michigan to Fordham to Columbia. They are as elusive and questionable, so tiny yet so destructive. They are called microaggressions: the slight remarks, subtle innuendos, insults, and actions that come off as unintended discrimination.
Racial microaggressions have been called the “new face of racism.” Not the overt insults of the past (for example, calling someone the n-word), these remarks and questions often seem innocent. Perhaps you’ve told a person of color, “When I look at you, I don’t see color,” only to have that person think to themselves, “Well, my ethnicity is a part of me.” Or maybe you’ve asked, “Where are you really from?,” expecting to hear a country in Asia, but getting the response, “California.”
While not straightforward insults, microaggressions operate on an assumption of the other ...1