46. How to Respond to Microaggressions

“You and I both can bring about equality and equity by using an inclusive language that decreases the impact of microaggressions for all the members of our human family,” explains host Alejandra. 


People who are members of marginalized groups experience microaggressions frequently due to other people’s implicit biases based on things like their looks, skin color, disability status, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation. 


Having experienced instances of microaggressions herself, Alejandra shares the most effective ways to respond when either experiencing or witnessing a microaggression. 


Most microaggressions aren’t done intentionally and rather are caused by a person’s hidden biases. If you’re often on the receiving end of these types of interactions or you witness them frequently, there are several effective ways you could respond. 


You may choose not to respond due to concern for your own safety, shock in the moment, or simply not knowing what to say. There’s nothing wrong with keeping quiet, but you may later regret not having spoken up about the microaggression impacted you. 


By having these strategies in your pocket, you can be more prepared to confront any microaggressions you encounter. The top four strategies for responding to microaggressions without being reactive are: asking for clarification, separating the person’s intention from the impact it had on your emotions, challenging the implied stereotypes, and sharing your own learning process to explain why their words or actions were hurtful. 


Tune into this week’s episode of Language Alchemy Podcast for an informative conversation about microaggressions, how they tie into implicit biases, and the long lasting impact they have on the recipient. 


Learn how to respond when you are on the receiving end of microaggressions or when you witness it happening to others. 



• “Have you ever had repeated experiences of people saying things to you or doing things in your presence, things that seem benign on the surface, but when you hear them you experience an internal Ouch, because what that person said excluded you in some way and made you feel like an other? In those instances you might have been experiencing microaggressions.” (1:35-2:03 | Alejandra)

• “The impact of microaggressions can go beyond feeling hurt in the moment. There are many psychological studies that point to long term psychological issues, such as trauma, anxiety, depression, and even suicidal ideation.” (15:54-16:10 | Alejandra)

• “If you choose to keep quiet in response to a microaggression, it would be important to reflect on whether you would later on regret not having said anything, or maybe you can choose to say something later and communicate skillfully.” (17:25-17:43 | Alejandra)

• “You and I both can bring about equality and equity by using an inclusive language that decreases the impact of microaggressions for all the members of our human family.” (23:41-25:54 | Alejandra)



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To see Diane Goodman's strategies to respond to microaggressions, click here: https://dianegoodman.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Responding-to-Microaggressions-and-Bias-Goodman332.pdf


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Podcast Music composed by Gary Lapow:



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