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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a microaggression?

A: Microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, with or without awareness, that communicate hostile, negative slights and insults toward members of racial, social, or cultural minorities (race, class, gender, LGBTQ, ability-status, nationality, etc).  Persons responsible for microaggressions are often unaware that they engage in such communications when they interact with members of such groups.  The power of microaggressions lies in the invisibility to the person(s) responsible for them, and often times, the recipient, because of the existence of plausible alternative explanations for such comments, behavior, and/or environmental cues.  Moreover, persons subjected to microaggressions often experience a negative impact on academic or work performance and mental-emotional well being.

Q: What are the effects of hate crimes and incidents of bias?

A: Hate crimes and bias incidents have a broad, negative impact on victims and communities because the acts target group membership as opposed to an individual trait or behavior.  Victim(s) can experience a number of emotional, psychological, and personal consequences, including:

  • Feeling vulnerable, powerless, helpless, fearful, unwelcome
  • Psychological distress, including stress, anxiety, anger
  • Interference with an individual’s ability to work, learn, or maintain health relationships
  • Poor academic performance
  • A desire to leave or withdraw from the community and/or to decrease participation in social
  • activities and programs
  • A diminished sense of self-worth, for both the victim and the victim’s group, for an extended
  • period of time
  • Feeling the need to retaliate against a member of the group represented by the perpetrator
  • Mistrust between and among individuals and/or groups leading to a diminished sense of community