In class we have been talking about microaggression that people of color experience. Microaggression takes place in different ways. It’s an insult that can be made verbally, physically, intentionally, and not intentionally, and it happens mostly to minority groups. Many times it’s a brief statement someone makes. Usually it’s unexpected and can happen at any time and any place. People of all genders, religions, sexual orientations, and other social identities may experience microaggression.
When I meet people, the first questions I am usually asked is, “where are you from?” If I answer that I was born in the United States, the next question usually is, “Where are your parents from?” or “How did your parents come to the United States?” After it is clearly established I am Mexican the next questions are about how and why I came here. The questions just continue to build up more and more. I believe the bottom line in these conversations is to find out if I really am in the United States legally. Because I have black hair and brown skin, many times people assume I am “illegal”. The common stereotype in this country is that all Hispanics and Latinos are fugitive “illegal” immigrants that bring strife to every community we enter.
According to the article titled Racial Microaggression in Everyday Life (Sue, Capodilupo, Torino, Bucceri, Holder, Nadal, and Esquilin, 2007) it is extremely difficult for victims to address microaggression. Those who experience microaggression go through four dilemmas: 1) Did it really happen? 2) How can I prove that it happened? 3) Does it really have a personal effect on me? 4) What should I do about it or is it even worth doing anything about? This is always a negative experience to go through because it’s something that over a long period of time can begin to have affects on one’s physical, mental and emotional health. If I spoke up for every time I was in a situation in which I was experiencing microaggression, that’s all I would ever do. I would always be in a defensive state, which can get very exhausting. If I said nothing at all it would just become an internal disease that would consume me from the inside out.
In conclusion, I can personally say that microaggression has a profound short and long term impacts on the victim. It is never a positive experience whether it is publically addressed or accumulated over time. The outcome is likely to have negative results individually and to whole communities. I have to build an inner strength and confidence in myself that is unbreakable and encourage others to do them same in order to deal with this issue.
Sue, D. W., Capodilupo, C. M., Torino, G. C., Bucceri J. M., Holder, A. M.B., Nadal, K. L., & Esquilin, M. (2007). Racial microaggressions in everyday life: Implications for clinical practice. American Psychologist, 62(4), 271-286.