I have been reading about microaggressions lately. It refers to covert forms of racism that reflect on people’s judgments based on race, gender, or ethnicity. I found an interesting article about the microaggressions on latinos:
I would also like to add some of the microaggressions that I face regularly:
1. Always being compared with other Latino students. In different courses and in my department some time people try to tell me how good I am doing in my course/program, and when they do they compare me with other Latino students, rather than to the general student population.
2. Went to have dinner in a restaurant the other night, I had a reservation, however something happened and they were late giving me a table. Someone from the restaurant came to apologize and said “I will have them make you guys (me and other latino’s friends) something special” when the free appetizer came he said “I made it extra spicy because I thought you guys will like it.” The only Latin-american country where food is typically spicy is Mexico. In our table I was the only one able to eat that appetizer (since I always have loved spicy food).
3. Met a graduate student from California, he told me “finally we have someone in our department that will help me find the best tacos in town.” Again Tacos=Mexico, we don’t have tacos (or similar) in Venezuela.
4. I think this one is the worst one, a lot of people think that having worked in an University for several years doesn’t compare to have a job at a University in the U.S. They immediately assume that teaching in Latin-america is under precarious conditions. When I mention that I was already tenured back home the response I expect is “so bad that you need to go through the process again”, the response I got instead is “this time you will face the real process”
Usually I don’t mind about them, in part because I was raised in Venezuela where you get used to several types of racial aggressions, however, I think is important to start being more conscious about it and to speak up when I’m in presence of any type of judgement, or discrimination. By omitting it, I’m only contributing to a major problem, the issue of lack of inclusion and diversity in the U.S.
Even if I don’t let microaggressions to affect me it’s important to identify them and to help minimize misconceptions, and the negative impact that they might have on people.