Our summer 2012 exhibit THEM: Images of Separation (traveling exhibit from Ferris State University) tackled microaggressions, featuring implicit and explicitly racist, stereotyping, and hateful memorabilia. This past summer, our What Can You Do To Fight Intolerance? workshop with Dr. Bill Howe also addressed these issues, one of the most memorable quotes from the event being “no child, no person, should be ashamed of who they are.”
A new Tumblr, Microaggressions, puts faces behind many of the stereotypes and racist comments (both intentional and unintentional) discussed in these and other Stowe Center programs. The creators of the blog define it as:
This blog seeks to provide a visual representation of the everyday of “microaggressions.” Each event, observation and experience posted is not necessarily particularly striking in and of themselves. Often, they are never meant to hurt - acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects. Instead, their slow accumulation during a childhood and over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult. Social others are microaggressed hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.
This project is NOT about showing how ignorant people can be in order to simply dismiss their ignorance. Instead, it is about showing how these comments create and enforce uncomfortable, violent and unsafe realities onto peoples’ workplace, home, school, childhood/adolescence/adulthood, and public transportation/space environments.
As do our programs, the Tumblr seeks to shed light on these stereotypes and call attention to such injustices. Below are just two examples of featured microaggressions - others can be viewed in BuzzFeed's "21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear On A Daily Basis" by Heben Nigatu or at microaggressions.tumblr.com.
What microaggressions have you experienced in your life? How have you handled comments that stereotype or offend your race, ethnicity, gender, or lifestyle? Share your responses in the "Comments" section below!