The Effects of Microaggression

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

~Trigger Warning~
If you’re easily offended, then don’t continue to read this post. I’m going to assume if you keep reading from this point on that you can handle it. I don’t want to have to delete or block anyone who decides to leave a nasty comment. Please let this be your warning and know if I see any hateful comments, I’ll remove them. I’m all for having constructive discussions, but I won’t tolerate any bullying on my platform. Okay, now on with the show!

By now, I’m sure you have either seen or heard about the interview that Oprah had with Harry and Meghan. Don’t worry; I’m not going to do a full recap on it as you can research that on your own if you like. I want to highlight a point made and use that as a basis of this post today—the topic of microaggression is prevalent throughout the interview. I saw countless people say online, why didn’t Kate speak up and clear the air since the tabloids got the story all wrong. Yes, you can make the argument that Kate was under the same pressure as Meghan, and she was unable to speak up. However, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and say even if she could speak up; I doubt that she would. It benefited Kate for the media to go after Meghan. At that point, a light bulb went off in my head. Is this the same thought some white women have when they do this to black women in the workplace? Are you triggered yet? I said to stop reading, but since you’re here, hear me out before you go nuclear on me.

The example of microaggression that I’m going to use in this post is related to the workplace. Of course, this in no way invalidates the other instances different people may face. Microaggression impacts many people in a variety of ways. I would be dishonest if I discussed an example in this post that I don’t personally have a frame of reference. I sympathize with Meghan so much in that Kate situation because the same thing happened to me years ago. I had people come to me one on one to defend me, but when I needed it, most of those same people were silent. I only needed one person to come to my aid, but I never received that support.

I learned a lot from that situation and ensured that I’ll never be in that position ever again. There are so many stereotypes that black women deal with daily at work. For example, if my voice goes up an octave, I can be labeled aggressive, and if I’m too forthcoming on a project, I can be deemed difficult at work. Couple this with the fact of me being a direct person, I was mislabeled often. Also, before someone says, maybe it was me, and microaggression isn’t real. I had a manager who is a white man tell me if I were white, this wouldn’t have been an issue. I had to do a lot of internal work to get to the person I am today. I couldn’t beat the system, so I had to learn how to play the game to further my career. It was necessary to change parts of myself to lessen the impact that microaggression would’ve had on my work life.

Now the concept of code-switching comes into play. That is how I survive in corporate America after all these years. Let me break down code-switching if you aren’t familiar with the term. It means to conform to your particular environment. For example, I noticed how people spoke, topics of interest, and the most notable projects at work that would garner the most awareness. I needed to be a team player and not labeled as a threat to the organization—any and every opportunity that came my way; I took advantage. I continue to wear this mask at work because I know what happens if I experience the other label. That is an experience I don’t want to deal with again, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Honestly, I wonder at times what the cost is? Do people like the real me or the person that I’m choosing to portray? That doesn’t mean I’m a horrible person to be around—quite the opposite. I’m a handful but the most fun you’ll ever have in your life. I understand it’s a professional environment; however, I’m not a robot. But I feel that to survive at work, I had to become a caricature of what would allow me to become accepted. I’m unable to show up as myself as it’s deemed unworthy due to being different. That is the downside of microaggression. It makes it so you can’t show up as your authentic self due to preconceived notions.

That explains why some people decide to work for themselves because they’re tired of pretending. Working in an environment where everyone looks and acts the same is tiring. That completely goes against the idea of diversity. There can’t be true diversity of thought if one person being different threatens everything to collapse. If you see something, you have to call it out. Things will never get better if people continue on the sidelines and let things slide. There is a thing called reciprocity in life, and if I’m not getting it from you, then don’t expect it from me. When something happens to you, but you weren’t interested in helping others, don’t have your hand out now. I’m grateful for this blog because I would go crazy otherwise. Until I can start my own, this is my creative outlet to get out what I want when I can’t say it in other places. I hope you walk away from this post, knowing microaggression is factual, and code-switching is a slippery slope to nowhere. Avoid at all costs and remove both whenever possible.

I’ll chat with you all in the next one, and don’t forget to check out the discussion question before you go.

How has microaggression impacted you, and what steps have you taken to minimize its impact?

Social Media Cleanse

I know it’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. I was running around getting ready to head to Miami and then it was time to leave for my trip. Now that I’m back it’s time to write another post. I went to Miami for the first time for five days, and I loved it. I had the best time, and I can’t wait until I go back again. I did something that I rarely do which is not to take pictures and then post them to social media. I lived in the moment for once and didn’t stop to post the photos every five minutes. It was a very liberating experience to live in the moment and not be so preoccupied with social media. It made me realize how much social media has impacted our lives. I guess to a degree we have allowed it. We sometimes feel the constant need to post images and tell every detail of our lives. We need to practice more of living in the moment. I enjoyed my Miami trip more because I wasn’t trying to gain likes or please my followers. I did something healthy which is to experience the moment, as it was occurring.

apps-blur-button-267350

Living in the moment allowed me to have more freedom and experience my trip a lot more. I would post here and there but nothing how I would typically. Life was so simple before social media as people were present and lived in the moment. In the days before social media people would communicate with their company more instead of being on the phone. I believe it is insulting to be on your phone while in the company of others. It signals that not only are you uninterested in the folks around you but that whatever you are doing on your device is more interesting. However, putting your device down and taking in life as its happening is such an invigorating experience. You don’t get those moments back, so it’s important to be present in that given moment.

adult-american-asian-1083622

I think taking time away from social media is essential especially if you see you are getting too caught up in it. One must remember that social media is a form of entertainment, but it’s not real life. It is a way for you to connect with others from different parts of the country and the world. However, it can’t replace living your life. There is much to see and do out in this beautiful thing called life. Please don’t allow social media to take away from that and make you forget what is significant. I would recommend that everyone at some point goes on a social media cleanse. It will allow you time away to focus on the real world and not the fake. A bonus is communicating with the people around you. With social media, people forgot how to speak when they have people in front of them. Purging from social media gives you time back with loved ones and the world around you. I’m not saying stay entirely away from social media but don’t forget to live your life to the fullest while using it.

adventure-atlas-business-1051075

Until next time,

Thkeya Life (1)