Microaggressions are behaviors–frequently speech acts–that demean or discriminate. They are often seemingly minor acts that may be brushed aside by others–“you’re taking it too seriously,” “I didn’t mean to offend you”–but microaggressions are like the tip of a cultural iceberg and deserve attention for that reason. The Microaggressions Project allows visitors to contribute examples from their lives: jokes, compliments, “harmless” observations that make it clear that the speaker holds a set of hostile or discriminatory beliefs. Taken as a whole, it’s easier to perceive the weight and impact of these patterns.
When I visited the site today, there was a photo of the FGM cake front and center and a several of the front page posts had to do with food and eating:
Me: Hey, should I go to a steakhouse or to a sushi place for dinner with my family? Friend: I think you should go to the steakhouse because you guys know how to make sushi, right? [link]
I noticed that when I eat out and order a Coke, I’m often asked whether I want it to be a diet Coke. I asked some male friends about this and they told me it never happens to them. [link]
Often when I have dinner at people’s houses, they ask me if I would prefer chopsticks, regardless of the meal! [link]
If you follow the last link, you’ll see a few clueless commenters compounding the issue with classic microaggression defenses: just say thanks; white people get the reverse problem; random joke.
Recommended: Click Blog and do a search for “food,” then for “eat,” to see patterns in food-related microaggressions. (Common: policing amount and quality of food eaten by women; presuming women and/or people of color are designated preparers of food; presuming that persons of [ethnicity] eat/cook primarily [ethnic] food.)
Not recommended: Commenting if you don’t see what the big deal is.