What are micro-aggressions?

Watch the following videos in their entirety before moving to the next step.

What Are Micro-Aggressions? - Catharsis Productions

SNIPPET: Micro-aggressions in the Classroom - Focused.Arts.Media.Education

SNIPPET: Micro-aggressions in the Classroom (Part 2) - Focused.Arts.Media.Education

Defining micro-aggressions

For the purposes of this course, the following definition will be used to describe micro-aggressions.

Micro-aggressions are subtle actions, remarks or visual cues - either intentional or unintentional - in our everyday interactions that ultimately communicate negative ideas about a group of people, more commonly, a systematically disadvantaged group (Sue et al., 2007).

Impact of micro-aggressions on students

Research has shown that micro-aggression in learning environments can negatively impact students & their learning outcomes (Cardoza et al., 2017).

Some of the impacts of micro-aggression include:

  • Dropping or skipping classes where students frequently face micro-aggressions.
  • Negative health impacts such as anxiety, depression and sleep difficulties
  • Decreased confidence
  • Decreased cognition

Impact vs. Intention

Sometimes, people often question the impact of harms caused (Berk, 2017a). However, questioning the legitimacy of impact caused is a form of micro-invalidation and can be just as harmful as micro-aggressions (Inclusive Teaching UBC). While many of the instances of micro-aggressions may seem insignificant and unintentional, for those experience these slight indignities on a daily basis, even an small incident can greatly impact their wellbeing (Berk, 2017b).

Activity #1: Video & Reflection Questions

Look Different - Micro-aggressions - MTV (watch all 7 videos listed on the playlist)

Answer the reflection questions on the worksheet attached below.

What Are Micro-Aggressions?. YouTube, uploaded by Catharsis Productions, 8 Nov 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ho_WW7M5E3A
SNIPPET: Microaggressions in the Classroom. YouTube, uploaded by Focused.Arts.Media.Education, 14 May 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ji8Qae9keY
SNIPPET: Microaggressions in the Classroom. YouTube, uploaded by Focused.Arts.Media.Education, 14 May 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYE6tqnznuI
Look Different | “I can’t tell Asians apart.” | MTV. YouTube, uploaded by MTV, 17 Jul 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGT5fOxeKVY&list=PL4bAG9BT-P264dX-Ds276CyHs8dUiKDrU&index=1
Look Different | “You’re different for a black guy.” | MTV. YouTube, uploaded by MTV, 17 Jul 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=futSiMyQ1_o&list=PL4bAG9BT-P264dX-Ds276CyHs8dUiKDrU&index=2
Look Different | “How’d you get into that school?” | MTV. YouTube, uploaded by MTV, 17 Jul 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXRjO28F_0g&list=PL4bAG9BT-P264dX-Ds276CyHs8dUiKDrU&index=3
Look Different | “You’re pretty for a dark girl.” | MTV. YouTube, uploaded by MTV, 17 Jul 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA5eujzeVkQ&list=PL4bAG9BT-P264dX-Ds276CyHs8dUiKDrU&index=4
Look Different | “What’s up, Bin Laden?” | MTV. YouTube, uploaded by MTV, 17 Jul 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zAvGKlMWvc&list=PL4bAG9BT-P264dX-Ds276CyHs8dUiKDrU&index=5
Look Different | “You don’t look Jewish.” | MTV. YouTube, uploaded by MTV, 17 Jul 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy3E-huEYxw&list=PL4bAG9BT-P264dX-Ds276CyHs8dUiKDrU&index=6
Look Different | “Your English is so good.” | MTV. YouTube, uploaded by MTV, 17 Jul 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05BRBKfdDXc&list=PL4bAG9BT-P264dX-Ds276CyHs8dUiKDrU&index=7
Microaggressions in the Classroom. Arts-Foundations.sites.olt.ubc.ca. https://arts-foundations.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2019/03/UBC-Foundations-19-Class-10-Delivered.pptx. [Accessed Jan 20, 2022]
Banks, B. M. (2015). Microaggresions directed at Black college women: The moderating role of racial identity on self-control depletion.
Murphy, M. C., Richeson, J. A., Shelton, J. N., Rheinschmidt, M. L., & Bergsieker, H. B. (2012). Cognitive costs of contemporary prejudice. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 1-12.
Sue, D. W. (2010). Microaggressions in everyday life: Race, gender, and sexual orientation. John Wiley & Sons.
Cardoza, Manuel, et al. “He Didn’t Really Say That, Right?”: The Impacts of Racial Microaggressions in Learning Environments. 2017, https://wp.stolaf.edu/sociology/files/2019/03/Microaggressions-Impacts-on-Students-Final-Paper.pdf. 
“Microaggressions in Our Lives.” Anti-Defamation League, https://www.adl.org/education/educator-resources/lesson-plans/microaggressions-in-our-lives. 

Complete and Continue