Have you ever had that moment when you were questioning whether somebody made a racist advance towards you? Was it racist, or are you being overly sensitive? You might make excuses up for them such as, “Maybe they were having a bad day…” More than likely they were being subtly racist, intentionally or unintentionally.
Racial micro-aggression is a problem. Everyone experiences some type of racism no mater what race you are. For example, my dad used to live in San Francisco. Now, every requirement for high school students is P.E., and his teacher was a middle aged Chinese woman. His class consisted of mostly Chinese students, and my father was one of the few white males in that class. Whenever the class was assigned to do an activity, the teacher was more affirming to the Chinese students. With the white males she would grimace at them and give them a hard time because she liked the Chinese students better.
As a mixed young woman, I’ve also had odd micro aggression instances. I’ve had a classmate ask me if I was A-rab. They looked at me with a disgusted face. Almost like if I said “yes” she would throw insults at me. When I said no, she then asked me, “What are you then?” I’ve had people ask me if I speak Mexican. Not all Latinos are Mexican and you don’t speak Mexican! I had a teacher tell me I had to go wash my hands in a healthcare setting because Hispanic hands are dirtier than other races hands.
I believe this is a problem because it is still a form of racism that is relatively acceptable. People play it off as, “Oh I didn’t mean it like that.” Well then you should be mindful of how other people perceive of you. Of what you say or act like. I feel like a lot of times people say subtly racist things and pay no mind to it. Nobody really cares because you’re not actually being racist to their faces. Then the person who has talked to like that will think… “Were they being racist or am I just being too sensitive?” The whole cycle is vicious.
What I am asking you to do is simple. Be mindful of what you’re saying to people. Don’t just blurt out what you’re thinking. Try to assess the situation. Is your statement offensive to strangers? No race is exempt from micro aggression, it doesn’t matter if you’re Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, or of African descent.
Celestial Carvalho, Bothell