• Kyia Young

Macroaggressions vs. microaggression: What's the difference?

January 11, 2017

Macroaggressions and/or microaggressions are two of the main forms of racial or discriminatory insults that either target a specific race, gender, disability, economic status or overall difference of an individual. More specifically, there are also differences between the two terms and how they are used.

LearnLiberty.org defines microaggression as, “real or perceived everyday verbal, nonverbal and environmental slights, snubs or insults that communicate negative or hostile messages to marginalized or perceived marginalized people; should be countered with violence.”

Typically, microaggression only applies to one individual of that particular race or circumstance. One example used in my previous microaggression article would be, “You’re so pretty for a black girl.” Or on a more serious note, you make my “limited representation in the classroom a voice for all black people.” Remember, just because I chose to go to a PWI (predominantly white institution) with a limited amount of black representation doesn’t mean our voices aren’t strong enough to have our own opinions.

On the opposite end, macroaggression is defined as “an act of racism towards everyone of that race.” Let’s flash back to the 2016 presidential election, where the main topics included race, gender, sexual orientation and immigration. President-elect Donald Trump, was among a myriad of people who not only care only about themselves, but also how to make the people around them feel uncomfortable. What better way of doing that than stereotyping all African-Americans as coming from impoverished communities with little to no educational background?

This my friends, is a form of macroaggression. Another example is whenever Trump stereotyped all Mexicans as being illegal, drug-smuggling rapists who only come into America to do more harm than good. He failed to recognize that a lot of the people who work for him are of Mexican or Latino descent.

Writing this article, I hope my audience gains understanding of the terms above and their different usage. Additionally, I hope you make yourselves aware of what is appropriate to say during conversation, or on social media, in regards to an individual’s unique differences. Please be on the lookout for my final article of this series, “Part 3: The Critical Race Theory.”


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