So here’s the thing. As a general rule, we all like to think of ourselves as decent people. Dare I say, even good people. And nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes. But despite our best intentions, the things we may be saying might be leaving a negative mark on those around us. Called microaggressions, these loaded “mosquito bite-type’ remarks or behaviours may not be debilitating in scope outright, but that’s also what makes them so problematic because it’s what makes them easy to ignore or overlook — but for the person on the receiving end. Over time, these microaggressions add up, and they can have a real negative impact (like holding someone back in their career with a bamboo ceiling). This is why at the University of Toronto OISE teacher education programme, we were taught not to perpetuate this negative cycle, and to be more mindful of our actions and words.
So what accidental microaggressions might you be making at home, school, work or elsewhere without even realizing? And how many of these have you yourself heard?