After several years of consistent efforts, people in the US workplaces and even at the different corners of the world have finally started talking openly about justice, race, equality, diversity, and inclusion. This change is expected to create a positive environment in the organizations and communities as well.
But for many people, these conversations are still very uncomfortable. On one side, the white leaders and employees may feel it like an attack on their privileges. The people of color, on the other side, may experience microaggressions from their colleagues due to some candid talks.
These incidents may unintentionally occur when someone asks an insensitive question or make an offensive statement. Microaggressions are behavioral, verbal, and environmental indignities for communicating derogatory, hostile, and antagonistic racial aspects while targeting a specific group or person.
As defined, microaggressions are small actions, but they can have a disastrous impact on an employee’s physical health, work experience, and psychological wellbeing of an employee. In addition, research studies suggest that microaggressions can pose as serious harm to an individual as that of an open discriminating expression. Therefore, it is essential to find some trustworthy ways to deal with this behavior.
Here we have listed a few practical ways to respond to microaggressions:
- Let it go
There is no doubt to say that for a long past, we have been following this approach. The idea is not to address any offensive comments at the workplace. However, silence can place some emotional tax on suffering black employees because these comments are emotionally draining. Many times, they are stuck with the thought of what happened and why it happened. This reaction slowly reinforces the belief that they are not emotionally safe anymore at work.
- Immediate response
The second commonly followed option is to call transgression, and it is more effective because details of the incident are fresh in everyone’s mind. So again, immediacy plays a vital role in correcting the bad behavior of other employees. But it is essential to mention that this approach can sometimes turn out to be very risky. It may lead to ‘lost control’ like situations.
- Response later
Another option is to address the commentator privately at the right time and explain to them how offensive a microaggression can be. But the risk lies in a time lag, and you may have to explain the scenario to the person who committed microaggression. However, this approach may also be difficult for black people, especially when there are most white people in the workplace.
One of the best approaches is to analyze the situation and determine how best to address the concern. You need to understand the importance of the matter and the relationship as well. If both appear essential, avoidance of the issue is not an option, and it is better to have an open discussion. Give priority to your feelings linked to exhaustion, embarrassment, confusion, aggravation, or frustration. These emotions are legitimate, and they may affect your decision to respond.
Depending upon the scenario and situation, you can choose any of these options to deal with microaggression. However, experts at Global Investment Strategies always advise evaluating the situation carefully and then making decisions about an accurate response.