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The way our bias leaks out is through everyday microaggressions: seemingly minor slights, exclusions, messages, looks, jokes or quips to someone from a marginalized group that highlights their difference.

They’re so common that you may not even realize you’re guilty of them. But these small acts of prejudice can have an outsized impact on others.

Note that there are many terms for this concept, including micromessages and micro-inequity.

We prefer to use the term microaggressions as we feel it captures the spirit of these slights: generally committed by a well-meaning person unaware their message is gauche, inappropriate and harmful.

🌏 Some real-world examples:

“I’d never heard of twerking until Miley Cyrus popularised it, but apparently being a black woman meant it was okay for my colleagues to ask me for a demonstration in the staff room.”

“One of the most insidious comments I get when white colleagues learn I’m a Muslim is “Yeah, but you’re one of the good ones, mate!” which is a punch to the gut disguised as a ‘compliment’, mate.”

“I have a visible disability and I know every person that simpers ‘Wow, I could never deal with that’ also believes my disability means inability and will condescend me no matter how many times I prove myself.”

Here are some humorous examples of what microaggressions could look like towards your white co-workers:

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