DEI Resources - Microaggressions

This page has been prepared by the Georgetown University Library’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. We hope you find it useful in more deeply exploring the topic of microaggressions. If you have comments or suggestions about this page, please contact the Library's DEI Committee.

Introduction / Definitions

Microaggressions are defined as the everyday, subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups (based on race, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, etc.). Microaggressions can be verbal or non-verbal and include everyday slights, indignities, put-downs and insults that occur in day-to-day interactions. Individuals who commit microaggressions are often unaware that they have engaged in an offensive or demeaning way, which is different from intentional discrimination. Microaggressions can accumulate over time and lead to severe harm.

[Sources: Kevin Nadal; American Psychological Association's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Inclusive Language Guidelines]

Examples of Microaggressions

  • Commenting on a BIPOC person’s speech, such as “you are so articulate.”
  • Misgendering a student or colleague.
  • Asking a woman to smile.
  • Speaking to a person with a disability in a condescending manner, such as “good for you,” or “you are so inspiring.”

This chart, based on the work of Dr. Derald Wing Sue, has extensive examples of racial, disability, and gender microaggressions.

Learn More About Microaggression

Georgetown University Resources on Microaggressions