Verbal Jujitsu, Disarming and Other Tips for Dealing with Microaggressions

Here’s an excellent article in the LA Times that features Dr. Derald Wing Sue and his tactics for disarming and dismantling microaggressions. The article draws on the experiences of a US Olympic figure skater, a Vietnamese-American medical student and a Punjabi Sikh performer in LA. You can read the article here (insert link here).

From the article: “Psychologist Derald Wing Sue calls microaggressions the “everyday slights, indignities, insults, putdowns and invalidations” that people from marginalized communities experience on a regular basis. Although these affronts often come from well-intentioned people, they are draining and have a “macro impact” on our health and well-being, said Sue, a professor at Columbia University who researches microintervention strategies. Whether and how we respond to a microaggression is situational, but we don’t have to passively let them happen to us or in front of us. There are ways, large and small, to push back and “signal to both the perpetrator and onlookers that this is unacceptable behavior,” Sue said.”

The article outlines Dr. Sue’s tactics for disarming and and dismantling microaggressions. You can see and practice these tactics in our course, Disarming Microaggressions (insert link here). When discussing “Make the invisible visible,” the article calls Dr. Sue’s idea of a comeback, a statement that counteracts the hidden message, “a form of verbal jujitsu”.

The article does an excellent job of expressing the harmful impact of microaggressions and the challenge of how to counteract, dismantle and disarm them with microinterventions.

Our new e-Learning course, Disarming Microaggressions gives learners the chance to practice these skills in a safe space and gain confidence in speaking up – whether they’re a person who’s been targeted or a bystander who witnesses a microaggression. The course also addresses how to receive feedback that you’ve said or done something offensive. You can take the e-Learning for a Test Drive here.

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