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The Muting Effect of the Microaggression Concept November 25, 2015

Posted by geoff in News.

I was watching the MTV video on microaggressions the other day:

…and it struck me that all those “microaggressions” really seem to be the sorts of things people way when they don’t know what to say.

The microaggressing white person has been told that they should relate to minority groups and try to understand their perspective (and it’s a natural sort of impulse anyway). So they try to strike up a conversation about their differences. But the danger of causing offense to a member of a minority group limits the sorts of topics one can broach in casual conversation. So instead, whites have tried to reach out by talking about the most banal topics: accents, hair, music, etc., with the prospect that it will lead to more meaningful discussions and relationships after the ice has been broken.

Having identified these as microaggressions, the conversation now appears to be restricted to how right and just minority groups are, and how evil and tainted whites are.

Which, even if true, makes for very boring conversation.


1. Mark in NJ - November 25, 2015

Not a single one of those “reverse microaggressions” would’ve bothered me — in fact, some were pretty hilarious.

Nonetheless, white people can’t win in the “relating to minority groups” dialogs you describe. But at least we’ve won everything else in history!

2. geoff - November 25, 2015

It just seemed to me that those are questions or comments I might have made to strike up a conversation with someone I didn’t know, but it never would have occurred to me to use them with one of my minority friends. Unless I was messing with them.

Of course, I’ve been blessed with minority friends who think of themselves as people, not members of a victim group.

3. Mark in NJ - November 25, 2015

Agree you do have particularly cool minority chums (at least the few I’ve met).

4. Retired Geezer - November 25, 2015

*cancels the dreadlocks hairdo appointment*

5. Tushar - November 25, 2015

>>Of course, I’ve been blessed with minority friends who think of themselves as people, not members of a victim group.

How demeaning it is, to expect people to think with their skin, instead of their brains. If you come across people who primarily identify themselves by their score in Oppression Olympics, run away from them.

6. Retired Geezer - November 26, 2015

Yay, thanks for dropping in, Tushar.

7. Steve B - November 27, 2015

Interesting dichotomy. So much of what we seem to hear is a collective racial identity. Everything from “hook a brother up” to the BlackLivesMatter stuff that purports to speak for all black people. But let a non-black person refer to the racial collective, and it’s a “microaggression.” Back in my day, microaggression was just called, “being an insensitive ass.”

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