Practicing Awareness of Microaggressions

A microaggression that I have witnessed would be one that my son has recently experienced. He and his girlfriend had been dating since the beginning of the school year. I was very much aware of their relationship and I personally have no problem with what race or ethnicity she is as long as they are happy and respect each other. I came home from work one day and he was very upset. Come to find out her parents did not know that they had been dating all these months and he had asked her to come to one of our family events and she became nervous. When I finally got him to talk about what else was bothering him, he told me that his girlfriend broke up with him because her parents would not like the fact that she was dating a black boy and this is why they did not know about them. She is Caucasian and I reminded my son that he is also half-Caucasian. This at least got a laugh out of him. He said it did not matter because all they would see is that his skin is dark. It upset me that people are still so caught up on race and skin color. I cannot understand how she was able to have a relationship and her parents not aware of it. She told my son she did not want to hurt him but she did not want her parents to get upset. After almost a year of dating she did hurt him because he cared for her and then to find out that the only reason she broke up with him was because of his skin color hurt him even more.

Microaggressions have always been around and always will be but it is not until they directly affect you that you really become aware of them. This again is a topic that I shared with my children to make them aware of how they can really hurt or insult someone from what they think is an innocent remark. I used many comments that they have used towards each other as examples and they were surprised. We were out today and witnessed a gender microaggression. In the car on the way home, we talked about why they thought it was wrong and how it could have been handled differently. I have been very impressed with how my children are able to learn from my lessons just as I learn from them.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sharee mitchell
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 00:10:30

    Thank you for sharing your story April. When I was in middle school I had something similar to what happened to your son happen to me. I can only imagine how hurt your son was but as he continues to grow older he’ll have a better understanding of some of the blindness that people have in our world.

    Reply

  2. Leslie
    Jul 23, 2012 @ 01:57:37

    Children can be great teachers, especially when it come to love. They don’t see this world as it really, no wait. they are looking at the world through their own eyes.
    And I once dated a guy of a different race from me and it was ok. His mom never treated me like I was not important. I guess everybody has their own biases and opinions especially the ones that were racist. Thanks for sharing you story. I posted late.

    Reply

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