Responding to Microaggressions with Corrective Feedback, Planned Ignoring, and Personalized Systems of Instruction

It’s not a stretch to think of Responding to Microaggressions.  It’s a heightened and measured level of thoughtful path in the ‘how’.  Based upon my last blog and the response of questions, I decided to video and talk.

Here are some take-aways in responding to Microaggressions:

  1. Use the guided and clear communication approach of Corrective Feedback.  Regardless of your formal role, in this scenario you (listener of the microaggression) will shift your role and provide the education needed that is clear.  Your clear communication outlines what happened, what was said, and the discomfort you felt.
  2. Utilize Personalized Systems of Instruction.  Some people don’t always benefit solely from verbal instruction.  Write it down.
  3. Planned Ignoring.  Decide (based upon face time and relationship) is it worth it?
  4. Understand the missed translation of emotions of keyboard typing.  Write down what you would say face to face.
  5. Take care of your emotions with meaningful people.  In other words, deposit your anger or frustration in environments that will help you channel it, care for you, and provide you with the camaraderie your inner self seeks.

To those that have used a microaggression (without malice):

  1. Remove the comfort in “not knowing”.  Stop hiding behind the innocence of “I had no idea”.  In any field of study, when we have no idea; we seek information and study so that we are better.  If we are committed to the progress, be progressive.
  2. Understand that anger is real.  Frustration is real. And sometimes our words (regardless of our intentions) can evoke those emotions.  Stand in that reality.
  3. Apologize with care.  Justifying behavior within an apology usually ends up using language to compare and with the word ‘but’.  Apologizes are vulnerable…as vulnerable as the innocent ask…remain in that space and apologize with care.
  4. Seek relationship with those who are outside of your inner circle (hopefully this broadening expands to who we ask to lecture and speak…because it is often about who’s in your contact list) and collaborate allowing them to be themselves and getting in space of learning.

In recalling and approaching these topics, I sought out personal friends who are in Human Resources and focus on Diversity and Inclusion as well as Counseling colleagues that focus on providing support to people of color in the corporate settings.  The consolation here in clinical services (ABA, Speech Pathology, and OT, etc.) is that all fields are challenged.  The sad implication is that they are much more progressive.  Interestingly enough, ‘big box’ clinical organizations do not add Diversity and Inclusion roles in their corporate structure the way you see in financial, retail conglomerates, public education, and business fields.  In this vein, clinical fields are hugely missing the mark and offering scholarships to attend conferences is not a ‘right step’.  The implication of affordability to a conference can be offensive when it is identified for a certain racial ethnic group.  Instead, the diversity is when the Invited Speaker and Keynote Speaker looks like me.  That would be a game changer.

~Landria Seals Green

Re-imagining ABA


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