I made the decision a while ago to redefine what I consider a microaggression in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
To put it simply
A microaggression is a clear sign to a marginalised person that they do not belong in that environment.
What does that mean? It means that the microaggression will not be taken seriously by those who aren’t marginalised.
It meant that when I joined an organisation with all white executive leadership and an overwhelming majority of board members being white, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to progress my career there. It meant before I even stepped into the role I was already recognising I would need an exit strategy. That meant I never connected with the organisation fully.
As the months went by, after having this new definition, I found I had experienced 8 racial microaggressions within my first 8 months. Possibly 9 or 10, but sometimes these aren’t that clear.
This is the power of microaggressions – reminding marginalised people that even if they are welcomed, they do not belong.
This is why I work on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, especially around senior leadership, C-suite executives and senior managers.