Eradicating Microaggressions and Racism in the Human Services Sector

One critical form of contemporary racism is the experience of microaggressions: brief, everyday exchanges, in the form of seemingly innocuous comments or behaviors that send denigrating messages to people of color. Microaggressions in health care settings are a cause of poor doctor-patient relationships, creating a barrier to medical treatment.  In academic settings, microaggressions lead to disengagement from learning and dropout. In the workplace, microaggressions can create a hostile work environment and poor job retention. Repeated exposure to microaggressions can cause psychological unwellness and even trauma symptoms in victims. People working in the human service sector must understand the impact of microaggressions on people of color to best help the clients navigate the obstacles created by microaggressions in the various facets of their lives. Further, they must be able to interact with clients in a manner that is not microaggressive, Thus, increasing awareness of microaggressions is a critical area of needed training in all areas of human development.