Workshops: Micro-Aggression Workshops

What are Micro-Aggressions?
As Professor of Colombia University Derald Wing Sue puts it, Micro-Aggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward the other.  Racial Micro-Aggressions are the brief and everyday slights, insults, indignities and denigrating messages sent to people by well-intentioned people who are unaware of the hidden messages being communicated.


Videos About Micro-Aggressions and Everyday Biases

Verna Myers: How to Overcome Our Biases?

Our biases can be dangerous, even deadly — as we've seen in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, in Staten Island, New York. Diversity advocate Vernā Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases. Then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable. In a funny, impassioned, important talk, she shows us how.

How Unintentional But Insidious Bias Can Be The Most Harmful

National attention has been focused on overt racial tensions on college campuses across the country. But what about smaller, subtle, more persistent forms of racism? Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault speaks to Derald Wing Sue of Teachers College at Columbia University about the ways that everyday “microaggressions” can affect people. 

Published by PBS NewsHour

MicroAggressions In Everyday Life

Professor at Colombia University Derald Wing Sue describes the meaning of a micro-aggression, the impact it causes towards other people, how they manifest, and what is done to address micro-aggressions.

How to Handle Micro-Aggressions: A High School Perspective

High schoolers at Middleton High School describe what micro-aggressions mean to them and how they dealt with situations involving these types of comments.

Racial Microaggressions: Comments That Sting | The New York Times

The accredited New York Times reported on the experiences and views on students who have dealt with and continue to hear micro-aggressions in their daily academic life,

"Across college campuses and social media, younger generations have started to challenge those fleeting comments that seem innocent but leave uneasy feelings behind."

Published by The New York Times

Theories on Why Micro-Aggressions Happen:

A) Micro-aggressions can be intentionally or unintentional. One can be conscious when making a micro-aggression. At the same time, the comment can be made unconsciously.

B) Everyday racism linked to structural racism.

C) Result of implicit bias and detrimental stereotypes forged through personal experiences, media, and/or other stimuli.

D) Lack of Proximity -- In a society where we don't really know each other, we don't trust each other, and can lead to danger, criminality, stereotypes.    -Verna Myers


Restorative Responses 



Recognize that a Micro-Aggression, whether aimed at you or at another person and whether aimed towards racial bias or any other characteristics, has occurred.

Accept your feelings in the moment and outreach to someone you can talk to.

Critical Reflection

Take a step back and think about how you want to respond. Assess the level harm and your options for addressing the harm. If possible, take the incident and turn it into a teaching/learning moment for the person who said the micro-aggression and to the bystanders who did not take action to address the situation.

Appropriate Action

Speak to the aggressor, or ask a third party to do so if you feel uncomfortable, and take action to protect yourself. Ask questions like:

"What did you mean by that?""This/that makes me feel uncomfortable","Can I give you some feedback","I'd prefer you don't use language like that","I'm offended by that"



Ask the party affected what happened, how they were impacted by the micro-aggression, and what help do they need


Be responsive. Reach out to the person who caused the harm and discuss why/what the intent behind their statement/action.

Take Action

Offer restorative transformation options to the party who caused harm. Take the event as a learning experience and develop ways to promote fair inclusivity through meaningful circles and discussions



Engage in self-reflection. Become aware of your own biases, anxieties, and motivations behind the harm.


Take accountability for your actions. Move away from shame, denial, and embarrassment.


Educate yourself about your actions and take this as a learning experience to improve yourself. Engage in critical thinking. Seek help from others. Make things right by listening to the harmed party and apologizing.

We offer micro-aggression workshops that are 2-3 hours long for campus communities. In this workshop, we: