Theorizing a Spectrum of Aggression: Microaggressions, Creepiness, and Sexual Assault emma mcclur e University of Toronto 1. Introduction You may have heard of microaggressions—in the news, in a diversity training session, or during casual conversation with colleagues—but in case you haven’t, let me begin with the basics. Chester Pierce coined the term in his 1970 article “Offensive Mechanisms,” yet microaggressions remained relatively undiscussed until Derald Wing Sue’s 2010 book Microaggressions in Everyday Life popular- ized the concept. Sue den fi ed microaggressions as “the brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gen- der, sexual-orientation, and religious slights and insults to the target person or group” (5). Although each individual microaggression may seem negligible, when repeated over time, microaggressions can seriously damage the target’s mental and physical health (Sue 88). Perpetrators may be unaware of the dam- age they are doing, but the target is well positioned to see how the words and actions fit into a larger pattern of discrimination (Sue 54). In the years since the publication of Sue’s book, microaggressions have sparked debate both within and beyond academia. Many universities and workplaces have begun
The Pluralist – University of Illinois Press
Published: Mar 13, 2019
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