Photographer Kiyun asked her friends at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus to “write down an instance of racial microaggression they have faced.”
The term “microaggression” was used by Columbia professor Derald Sue to refer to “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.” Sue borrowed the term from psychiatrist Dr. Chester Pierce who coined the term in the ’70s.
While the term “microaggressions” has been a part of academic discourse for some time (“micro-inequities” was coined by an MIT Ph.D. in 1973), it became better known through the popular Tumblr Microaggressions.
The Tumblr is a project that aims to highlight the daily microaggressions people encounter through user submitted stories.
“This blog seeks to provide a visual representation of the everyday of “microaggressions.” Each event, observation and experience posted is not necessarily particularly striking in and of themselves. Often, they are never meant to hurt - acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects. Instead, their slow accumulation during a childhood and over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult. Social others are microaggressed hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.
This project is NOT about showing how ignorant people can be in order to simply dismiss their ignorance. Instead, it is about showing how these comments create and enforce uncomfortable, violent and unsafe realities onto peoples’ workplace, home, school, childhood/adolescence/adulthood, and public transportation/space environments.”
Here are a few of the microaggressions Fordham students identified as a part of their lives:
- The family of Sandra Bland, who died in a Texas jail cell in July three days after she was detained during a traffic stop, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court.
- Migrant deaths in the Mediterranean have exceeded 2,000, making 2015 the deadliest year for people trying to reach Europe, according to the International Organization for Migration.
- At least 24 homes have been lost and one firefighter killed as dozens of wildfires continue to ravage drought-stricken California.