This week



Maria’s Midweek Mindfulness 


The Wednesday Whisper

Raising awareness

A while ago I came across the term ‘micro-aggression’. It seemed to name something that we all experience both as recipients and perpetrators. When I looked it up, I found it was a term coined in the 1960’s by Dr Chester Pierce as way to describe “the small, continuous bombardments” of discrimination levied by White people upon Black people in America. Since then, the phrase has been used to name the same discriminatory behaviour visited on other differences such as LGBT, gender, religion and disability.

For example, black women are often asked ridiculous questions about their hair and, people born in the UK who are not white and Celtic looking are asked, ‘where are you really from?’

These micro-aggressions are often subtle, conditioned responses which can generate denial and hostility when named. And, I see them occurring in all walks of life. And, in the past I was definitely guilty of them too, because I come from a generation where giving people nicknames based on their difference was the norm.

And funnily enough, even now, I find myself on the receiving end of this because of my working class London background. People I love, respect and care for (and a few I don’t) will mimic my cockney accent as if I am some kind of novelty item.

Then it comes down to choice. Do I call it out or ignore it? And, if I choose to call it out am I going to meet aggression with aggression to shut them down or try to empathise with the ignorance that leads to this type of ‘attack’ or is this an opportunity to connect?

This is a choice we all need to make in everyday life about all sorts of things. Nonviolent Communication and the Dialogue Road Map show us how create opportunities to connect.


Maria’s Midweek Mindfulness

There are real risks of addressing something at the incident level when there are no overarching models of change to draw on. Micro-aggressions operate at an incident level but are indicators of a deeper systemic problem in society which has been talked about but not yet properly addressed.

The Wednesday Whisper

Are you on the receiving end of micro-aggression? Or, can you look at your own behaviour and see where you might be unconsciously perpetuating something?

Are you interested in participating in a year-long training or do you know anyone you can pass this onto?

And, as ever, would you be willing to send this out to anyone you think might be interested in getting a little dose of mindfulness each week?