What are Microaggressions?

While the term has been around since 1970, Merriam-Webster only recently added “microaggressions” to its dictionary. It’s defined as, “a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group.”  Merriam-Webster uses racial minorities as one example; however any marginalized group is vulnerable to microaggressions.

This January, APA Books released the paperback edition of That’s So Gay! Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community. In this book, Dr. Kevin Nadal explains how microaggressions affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Nadal describes microaggressions as the “New Face of Discrimination.” It has become unacceptable in the present day and age to openly voice and act on discrimination. Because of this, it can be commonplace for Americans in the majority to determine that they are not prejudiced, because they associate prejudice with the more outright forms of discrimination, such as hate crimes. However, they may not realize the ways in which their seemingly innocuous statements and behaviors can subtly harass or insult minorities.

Unlike blatant acts of discrimination, the motivations behind microaggressions are often ambiguous. Nadal uses the example of a White woman alone on an elevator who moves to the side and grabs her bag when joined by an African-American man. Nadal notes that there are several possible explanations for the woman’s action, but regardless of her intention, the man may suffer psychological stress as a result.

What can we do about microaggressions? Nadal gives several recommendations.  One location where microaggressions occur most often is in the workplace. It may be more difficult to confront microaggressions in this environment because of power dynamics and concerns over one’s employment status. It also raises the concern that one won’t be able to prove a microaggression to human resources representatives—or to convince them that such subtle interactions are worth investigating. Therefore, Nadal recommends that workplaces remain open to discussing microaggressions, and incorporating education about them in training and hiring opportunities.

 

References

Nadal, K. L. (2013). That’s so gay! http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/14093-000

February Releases from APA Books!

occupational healthOccupational Health Disparities 

Improving the Well-Being of Ethnic and Racial Minority Workers

Edited by Frederick T. L. Leong, Donald E. Eggerth, Chu-Hsiang (Daisy) Chang, Michael A. Flynn, J. Kevin Ford, and Rubén O. Martinez

Ethnic and racial minorities often face a disproportionately high number of workplace hazards and discriminatory practices that result in greater incidences of disease, injury, psychological distress, and death than non-minorities. The expert contributors to this volume thus present an evidence-based, multicultural framework derived from occupational health psychology research and practice to reduce occupational health disparities and improve conditions for minority workers, including Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans. They review important individual, cultural, and organizational factors that will inform much-needed advancements in policy, research, and intervention.

 

art science mindfulnessThe Art and Science of Mindfulness

Integrating Mindfulness into Psychology and the Helping Professions

SECOND EDITION

Shauna L. Shapiro and Linda E. Carlson

Intention is fundamental to any project, endeavor, or journey. Related to intention is the concept of mindfulness—the awareness that arises through intentionally attending to oneself and others in an open, caring, and nonjudgmental way. Authors Shapiro and Carlson draw from Eastern wisdom and practices as well as Western psychological science to explore why mindful awareness is integral to the therapeutic healing process. This new edition integrates the latest theory and research on mindfulness, with new sections describing the neuroscience of mindfulness and mechanisms of change.

 

men & masculinitiesThe Psychology of Men and Masculinities

Edited by Ronald F. Levant and Y. Joel Wong

The psychology of men and masculinities is a thriving, growing field dedicated to the study of how men’s lives shape—and are shaped by—sex and gender. This volume shows how far the field has advanced and what directions it is taking. It explains and evaluates major theories, research, and applications, with an emphasis on the gender role strain paradigm and related theories. In addition, it synthesizes research on men’s mental and physical health, as well as therapeutic interventions and prevention programs. Special attention is given to ethnic, racial, and sexual minority men. With such broad and inclusive coverage, this volume will be a standard reference for researchers and practitioners in this field and an essential part of university courses on men and masculinities.