Microaggressions: Background information when reading So You Want to Talk About Race

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So You Want to Talk About Race

by Ijeoma Oluo

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo X
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2018, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2019, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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About this Book

Microaggressions

This article relates to So You Want to Talk About Race

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo devotes a chapter to racial microaggressions, or everyday instances of racism. As opposed to macroaggressions, which encompass obvious racist behavior such as the use of racial slurs, microaggressions are subtle, sometimes unconscious and often seemingly unremarkable actions that contribute to stereotypes, bias or other types of harm against marginalized groups. Any person who is marginalized on the basis of race, gender, sexuality or other factors may experience microaggressions, but the term is most often applied to words and actions that affect people of color, and this is the context in which it is used in Oluo's book.

The word "microaggression" was first coined in the 1970s by the psychiatrist Dr. Chester M. Pierce, but the concept has since been expanded upon by researchers, notably Dr. Derald Wing Sue. In a 2007 study, Sue proposed three categories to classify racist behavior:

  • "Microassaults" (which may also be referred to as...

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