The Everyday Experiences of "Microaggressions"
Published in Research/Publications
Teachers College psychologist Derald Wing Sue, one of the world’s most frequently cited multicultural scholars and an expert on issues of discrimination, has published a new book, Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation (John Wiley and Sons, 2010). To view a videotaped interview with Sue, click here.
Sue, born to a Chinese-American family in
Sue has also consulted with a wide range of organizations on ways of acknowledging, confronting and eliminating microaggressions.
“Our psychological studies indicate that it is racial micro-aggressions that have the most devastating impact on people of color, even more terrible than overt acts of conscious racism or hate crimes,” Sue has said. “Their life is most affected by ordinary, well-intentioned decent individuals who are unaware that they are giving micro-aggressions.”
Microaggressions in Everyday Life is the product of five years’ of research conducted by Sue and his students in their “microaggressions laboratory” at Teachers College where they have interviewed a wide cross-section of faculty, students and staff about their experiences and perceptions of microaggressions. The book includes a “taxonomy of microaggressions,” classifying these slights into categories such as microassaults (conscious and intentional actions or slurs, such as using racial epithets), microinsults (verbal and nonverbal communications that subtly convey rudeness and insensitivity) and microinvalidations (communications that subtly exclude, negate or nullify the thoughts, feelings or experiential reality of a person of color). The book also features a five-phase model for deconstructing the microaggression process. Sections also examine manifestations of various microaggressions and their psychological effects on both the perpetrators and target person. The book closes with a discussion of microaggressions in education, employment, and health care along with suggestions and guidelines for combating microaggressions.
Microaggressions in Everyday Life is written with an unusual combination of scholarly care and accessibility for a lay audience – a feature that owes much to Sue’s own connection to his topic.
“There is a marked synergy between Dr. Sue as a scholar and author and as an individual, authentic person,” writes