This lesson introduces students to the concept of microaggressions—the everyday, unconscious or conscious comments and actions that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to a person based solely upon their marginalized group membership. Microaggressions are considered “micro” not because they are insignificant, but because they transpire between individuals and not on the macro level. The regularity at which microaggressions occur often translate to real psychological and physiological effects. Through a word exploration activity and a variety of short videos, students examine seemingly innocuous words and phrases that have the potential to hurt and harm others with overt and covert messages that they do not belong, are different, and/or are less than. Students will also analyze sample scenarios to discuss different ways in which people can respond to microaggressions.
By Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education