According to Dr. Derald Wing Sue, writing in Psychology Today,
"Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership."
Growing up Black in America has come with its fair share of challenges.
Here is a not-at-all exhaustive list of things that people have said or say to me and my friends as "compliments" and a list of the shadiest responses that I could think of.
1. "You're not like a REAL Black person. You're not like the rest of them."
What does this mean? I am Black and I am a real human and what does "not like the rest of them mean?"
2. "You are so well-spoken for a Black person."
Actually, I'm articulate. I'm intelligent and I take pride in my extensive vocabulary.
3. "You are the best Black person I know."
Thanks, I guess! You are not the best non-Black person I know... sorry not sorry.
4."You're pretty for a Black girl."
If you think I'm beautiful just say so. You don't have to downplay the beauty of Black women. We all know Black does NOT crack.
5. I just don't even see you as Black."
Well, you might wanna get your vision checked. Just because I don't live up to some expectation or stereotype that you have doesn't mean you get to go colorblind all of a sudden.
6. "I like you more than I like some white people."
Right now I don't like you at all. There is no color line on my disdain for stupidity.
7. "Your hair is so ethnic looking."
Honestly, I still haven't figured this one out. Just tell hem to leave you alone.
8. " You are too intelligent to be Black."
Actually, I'm intelligent because that's one of the talents God gave me and because I'm a Black woman and we're magical.
9. " You are so sassy."
Honey you haven't seen sass and no I'm not I'm opinionated!
10. "When you dress like that you look kinda ghetto but I love it."
Describe to me what makes a clothing item "ghetto"
11." If my son ever wanted to date a Black girl it would have to be you."
Sorry, but I don't want to date your son because it seems like you and he are probably shallow and judgmental.
If these sound ridiculous when read aloud, it's because they are. Every day people are subjected to "compliments" like these. Here's a helpful hint: think before you speak and if you've found yourself saying some of these it's probably time for you to re-evaluate the way you talk to people. To my friends who have to experience this, always remember to stay gracious, honest, and shady :)
Share some of your responses in the comments!