Top 10 Takeaways: Microaggressions in the Workplace

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On April 22, the American Booksellers Association offered a free session to member booksellers from the Center for Anti-Violence Education on microaggressions in the workplace.

Booksellers can find a recording of this session, which will be available until June 15, here.

Check out ten of the main takeaways below:

  1. Microaggressions are incidents of indirect, subtle, or unintentional harm that marginalized people experience on a daily basis.
  2. Microaggressions can be addressed by upstanders, which are people who witness an event and act to try to intervene and prevent further harm.
  3. Oppression is a pattern or system of inequality that gives power and privilege to members of a certain group of people at the expense of others. It happens on internal, interpersonal, institutional, and ideological levels.
  4. Microaggressions can be addressed by both calling out and calling in. Calling out is speaking up against oppressive behavior publicly. Calling in is addressing someone’s oppressive behavior privately. It’s a strategy that can help the person doing the behavior be more receptive to hearing how they’re holding up oppression.
  5. Before calling someone in, it’s helpful to engage in self-soothing exercises such as deep breathing, checking in with yourself to gain focus, and acknowledging personal boundaries to cultivate a sense of calm.
  6. While calling someone in, personalize the conversation to find a sense of empathy. Giving the person a “compliment sandwich” is one way to do that.
  7. State clear intentions and share why you care enough to have this conversation, and be sure to challenge the idea and not the person.
  8. Ask questions to engage the person in a productive conversation.
  9. Use “and” instead of “but” statements to ease the conversation and make it seem less confrontational — this encourages the person to be receptive.
  10. Be sure to offer specific examples of what the person can do differently and have resources to share.