Evidence That It Works
Microaggressions (a form of put-down) are subtle experiences of discrimination that communicate hostile or negative messages to persons of marginalized groups. For example, showing surprise that a person of color is attending college, or catcalling a woman who is walking down the street, or saying to someone who is gay “you don’t act gay.”
People on the receiving end of microaggressions, including teens, have been found by researchers to experience greater levels of depression, anxiety, lower levels of self-esteem, sleep quality, and physical health, and increased levels of cortisol.
Why Does It Matter?
In schools where microaggressions go unchecked, both the physical and mental well-being of students and adults are threatened, creating an unsafe learning environment where people feel they don’t belong.
Proactively teaching students (and adults) how to recognize, handle, and ultimately prevent microaggressions can go a long way in cultivating positive school and classroom climates in which all forms of diversity are honored and valued.