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Microaggressions Part 3: What to Do When You've Committed One

Now that we've defined microaggressions in part 1 and discussed how to respond to them in part 2, let's talk about what to do when you've committed a microaggression yourself.

Many offenders don't intend to hurt anyone or don't even realize their comments or actions are hurtful; however, being unaware is no excuse for perpetuating dangerous beliefs or behaviors. Accepting criticism is hard, but it's necessary to combat our own biases. Here are some tips, courtesy of Culture Amp, to help you respond gracefully if you're called out for committing a microaggression:

  1. Resist the urge to react defensively.

  2. Sincerely listen with an empathetic heart.

  3. Verbally acknowledge your impact.

  4. Apologize, but don't expect forgiveness.

  5. Ask questions, but don't expect answers.

We can't expect people from marginalized communities to show us the way. It's up to us to educate ourselves on the perspectives of others.

And here are some ways to take it even further and help create a more healthy and inclusive work environment:

  1. Step up for co-workers from marginalized communities.

  2. Raise awareness of microaggressions among co-workers and friends.

  3. Advocate for organization and/or policy changes.

For even more on microaggressions, check out this blog by Culture Amp.

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