I recently read an article in Good Housekeeping about microaggressions, which defined the term this way: “A microaggression is an indirect, sometimes subtle put-down toward a person from a marginalized community.” Then… thunk. My stomach dropped. I know I’ve done it. I KNOW it. I can’t think of a single example right now, but in my guts and in my head and even in my heart, I know I’ve done it. And I hate that I have.
The article went on:
More people have told me, “You’re SO articulate!” than I care to count. Growing up, I also heard a lot of people say, “You don’t sound Black.”
These words stir up a stomach-crunching whirl of emotions in me, starting at disbelief and disappointment and going all the way over to exasperation and resentment. Comments like these are almost always shared warmly, with a sobering side-order of surprise in the person’s voice, and occasionally even a sprinkle of patronizing “good for you!” in there too.
Apparently, to some people, my ability to express myself coherently makes me an exception, and dealing with comments like these is exhausting. The waxy mental build-up of these semantic assaults takes a toll on a Black person over time. It’s like a million little paper cuts—each seemingly tiny, but surprisingly painful.
And my self-reckoning continued. Honestly, how could any of us say we’ve never been guilty of a microaggression? I’ve even been the victim of it! (When I was younger, the only female in an all-male office, it was ever-present.) So, it is imperative that I analyze my own actions to be sure that I never make another feel that way again. And we all need to do the same.
Luckily, our partner Traliant has released a series of courses called “The Diversity & Inclusion Training Suite,” which features the following courses:
- Workplace Diversity, Inclusion and Sensitivity
- Unconscious Bias
- Microaggressions in the Workplace
We have shared descriptions of this training suite in the past, but I want to provide the course for the microaggression training today:
Microaggressions in the Workplace
This 15-minute course explains microaggressions and the affect they can have on others. Employees learn to recognize and prevent verbal and nonverbal messages that contain hidden meanings based on unconscious bias and receive guidance for responding to microaggressions in a positive and effective manner.
I suppose that my moment of self-reckoning above can also be translated as open mindedness to learning something new, right? So, I believe I’ve taken the first step toward being a more inclusive co-worker and citizen. Most likely, your employees are also open to discovering new ways to communicate but they need guidance. Microaggressions are hard habits to break because we don’t know we’re doing it! We all need help.
Here is Traliant’s video about the full suite:
If you would like to provide microaggression training for your law firm, contact Savvy today. We are a licensed Traliant provider. And if you already subscribe to the SavvyAcademy LMS, we can quickly download the content for you today!