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What's Your Experience With Racial Microaggressions At School, And How Did You Handle It?

It's an important conversation.

If you're like me and grew up going to a school where you were one of the only people of color, you may have had some experiences people don't always talk about.

Two Black students among other students in a classroom during a lecture
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Unfortunately, many people of color grew up facing racism and racial microaggressions — which Columbia professor Derald Sue describes as "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."

An illustration of hands raised from people of different racial backgrounds
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The term was coined by psychiatrist Dr. Chester Pierce in the 1970s.

Racial microgressions are unfortunately very common, even in schools. So, if you are a POC who attended a predominately white school growing up, what was your experience?

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Maybe, if you were a Black student, you encountered microaggressions through comments like "You don't sound Black" or "Can I touch your hair?" or "Why are you so ghetto?" that you became used to hearing — and you now realize they were based on stereotypes and were not OK at all.

A Black student finds books in the library
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Perhaps you were the only person of color in your class and were left out of things simply because people thought you were too "different."

A Middle Eastern teenage girl with hijab studying at home
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Or maybe you made a lot of good friends, but sometimes, you felt like you always "stuck out" being the only POC in your class.

A group of friends at school, with one friend being the only Black person in the group
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Or maybe you had assumptions made about you — even by teachers — because of your racial background that were simply narrow-minded and hurtful.

An Asian student holds a laptop while studying
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If you attended a mostly white school where you were one of the only students of color, we want to hear your experience.

A Latinx student solves a math problem on a chalkboard
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In the comments below, share your story about facing racial microaggressions as a person of color in school — and how you handled them — or, if you prefer to remain anonymous, submit your story using this Google form. Your response could be featured in an upcoming BuzzFeed Community post.