Hope For The Journey

6 Tips to Manage

Have you ever wondered what you would say or do if you experienced a microaggression? Do you feel torn between addressing the microaggression or ignoring it, in hopes it will stop?  Well these are very common fears and concerns many marginalized groups experience on a daily basis. Whether it is in a school setting, work setting, or with family and friends. Learning about microaggressions can help lessen anxiety. This is my hope for you.

Microaggressions consist of verbal (words), behavioral (actions), or environmental actions (confederate flags, statues of confederate soldiers, ..etc)  that promote hostility towards marginalized groups, such as people of color, women, the LGBTQIA+ community, persons with disabilities, and religious minorities. Microaggressions can be intentional or unintentional and expresses biases and prejudices that one may have towards target groups.

Managing Microaggressions Tip #1: Name What Is Happening


Microaggressions happen in different ways. Before you respond, it is important to understand and be able to name what is happening to you. The next few sections define different kinds of microaggressions.

What are Microassaults?

Microassaults are obvious forms of prejudice in which someone deliberately acts in discriminatory ways. They can consist of jokes or sayings that degrade racial and marginalized groups. 

People who use microassaults may be under the belief that what they are doing or saying is not noticed or harmful.


  • When someone says, “That is so ghetto!” to express that something is not up to one’s expectations or standards, the person is aware of the words they are saying, however they fail to recognize how the word can be offensive.
  • A person of color being followed in a store.
  • Racial profiling by law enforcement agencies.

What are Microinsults?

Microinsults consist of statements or behaviors that unconsciously communicate discriminatory rhetoric to target groups.


  • Telling a person of color “You are very articulate.” implying that people of color do not traditionally speak good English or may lack education. This example can be very upsetting and demeaning to people of color, because it expresses the insinuation that people of color cannot speak with purpose or communicate effectively.
  • “You’re different and not like most ____ people.”
  • Locking car doors when a person of color walks by.

What are Microinvalidations?

Microinvalidations are verbal statements that deny or undermine the experiences of someone who belongs to a target group.


  • When someone says that racism does not exist, the individual is invalidating the experiences and reality of people of color.
  • “When I look at you, I do not see color.” 
  • Repeatedly using the wrong pronouns.

Now that you have a clearer idea of how to name what you are experiencing, here are the following tips on how to manage moving forward.

Managing Microaggressions Tip #2: Asking for clarification


  • “What did you mean when you said that?”
  • “Could you help me understand what makes you say that?”

Managing Microaggressions Tip #3: Meeting them with empathy and expressing your feelings


  • You can ask someone how they might feel if someone said something like that about the group they identify with or someone they love. 
  • You can also tell them that they are too smart to say hurtful things like that and it can be hurtful to you and others.

Managing Microaggressions Tip #4: Challenging their bias and prejudices


  • You may give information, share your own experiences and offer them different perspectives.
  • You may say “Actually in my experience ____.”
  • Or you could say “You know I actually used to think that, but then I learned ____.”

Managing Microaggressions Tip #5: Targeting the behavior and not the person


  • It is important to target the unhelp behavior and not the person’s character in order to avoid defensiveness. 
  • We want to help promote education and not shame someone into understanding. 

Managing Microaggressions Tip #6: Walking away from the conversation


  • If you feel like you or the person who used the microaggression may be emotionally charged and the conversation is no longer productive, you could say “I feel like we are both emotionally charged at this time and we can revisit this topic at a later time.”

Managing Microaggressions Tip #7: Seeking support


  • It can be helpful and empowering to reach out to an ally. Allies such as, a co-worker, classmate, family member, friend, therapist, or someone you feel safe sharing your experiences with. 

Ready To Get Started With Therapy in Round Rock, TX or Austin, TX?


Our team of caring therapists are ready to help you manage the effects of microagressions. Learning ways of communicating, setting healthy boundaries, and coping through challenging times can be tough to do alone. You deserve to feel supported and to prioritize yourself again. To start therapy with Hope For the Journey, please follow these simple steps:

1. Contact Hope for the Journey

2. Meet with a caring therapist

3. Start receiving the support you or your teen deserve.

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