Microaggressions are subtle but offensive comments that devalue or put someone down because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, gender identity and much more.
They often reflect prejudice toward people of colour, members of the LGBTQ+ community, women, people with disabilities and other groups.
Microaggressions can hurt children and young people and make them feel that they don’t fit in.
Some examples of microaggressions include:
What is the effect of microaggressions?
Microaggressions might seem small, but they can have negative effects on mental health.
Microaggressions may also be more difficult to respond to, since they don’t always sound like a direct attack or criticism.
What can I do if I experience microaggressions?
Tell a person you trust, like a parent, carer, good friend or teacher, about what happened. They can offer support and guidance. If the incident made you feel unsafe, report it.
You don’t have to respond to every microaggression if you don’t want to. If you choose to respond, try some of the following:
Remember: people who experience microaggressions aren’t the only ones who should call them out. Even if you aren’t the target, you can support others by challenging beliefs and stereotypes that lead to microaggressions.
What to do if you commit a microaggression
Even if you didn’t mean it, saying something offensive about a specific group of people to a friend or someone else you know can cause harm. However, there are steps you can take to make things right: