Here are 10 photos (out of 22) from my series Racial Microaggressions. I have asked my friends on the Fordham University Lincoln Center campus to write down an instance of racial microaggression they have faced on a poster for me to take a picture of them.
what the fuck is that last one
She’s probably Hispanic. Some are light skinned and mistaken for Caucasian all the time. So if you have a Caucasian looking kid with a parent who has darker skin, then people make rude comments like the one seen in the photo.
Y’all are so fucking annoying. “Microaggressions,” REALLY?
People swear I’m white all the time, and other Hispanic people don’t believe I’m Hispanic until I’ve spoken like at least 2 or 3 sentences to them in Spanish, and people who know I’m Hispanic treat me as a representative for all Hispanics people all the time, and people on this website tell me I’m not poor enough to be a “real” Hispanic, and people ask me, “so, like, what are you?" ALL THE TIME.
These are not aggressions. They are simple questions. They are understandably ignorant statements and prejudices from people who obviously don’t know that much about me, or my ethnic background, or the fact that white Hispanics exist, or the fact that affluent Hispanics exist, or the fact that not all Hispanics are Mexican, or the fact that “Spanish” is the language I speak and not my ethnicity (seriously people, “aren’t you Spanish?” — read a book; also, no I don’t “speak Mexican”; Yes, I’m Nicaraguan, and no, Nicaragua is not in Africa). One can hardly be expected to be knowledgeable about something they have no exposure to. The people who ask me stupid questions like this are invariably people who don’t know a lot of Hispanics. In fact, 40% of white people don’t have any non-white friends, so this should not come as a surprise to any of you!
These things might be annoying, but they’re not microaggressions. If people can’t ask you innocuous questions without you getting all butthurt and crying, then you’re really not going to fare that well out in the real world where people are probably going to hurl real insults at you once in a while. Grow thick skin and get the fuck over it.
I don’t know about just “getting the fuck over it.” It’s not benefiting anyone to just take it in silence and then passive-aggressively whine about it on a blog; no one learns. The ideal course of action is: stand up for yourself, correct the person/point our their “error” in a polite way, and move on with your day. Most of these people aren’t trying to aggress you, or be bigoted assholes; they just have a reasonable amount of ignorance. When people persist in pushing stereotypes on you and perpetuating ignorance, then it becomes a bigger problem.
Otherwise, emphasis on microaggressions, because more often than not, they’re things that you can fix yourself, and change people’s minds about, as long as you just point them out. Like:
- "Dude, not all Asians are like that."
- "Uh, actually, my last name is Rodriguez. I don’t mean to be rude; I just found it kind of off-putting that you assumed my name was Garcia. Are we cool?"
- "I’m Korean. I understand, we’re not that easy to tell apart. But there’s a big difference, and people might get offended, so be careful before you make assumptions.”
Is it annoying when people ask if I’m Chinese, or Vietnamese? Occasionally, yeah. But it’d be stupid to expect anything else—and I don’t feel oppressed because someone guessed my race wrong on the first try.