Subtle Acts of Exclusion by Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran, 2020

Subtle Acts of Exclusion

by Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran, 2020

  • instead of using the term “microaggressions” you can use the term Subtle Acts of Exclusion
  • much like bias, we will all say and do things that might be considered SAE
  • subject (the person excluded), initiator (the person who says or does the SAE), observer (if they say something, they’re an ally; if they don’t they’re a bystander)
  • overall, this book is promoting the authors’ services for addressing SAE and bias in the workplace. it’s a short read and the take-aways are easy to understand. they’ll also be offering training sessions in 2023, might be worth attending

Guidelines For Speaking Up As The SAE Subject Or Observer:

  1. Pause the action.
  2. Assume good intent.
  3. Explain why the action was paused.
  4. Have patience but expect progress.

Guidelines For Responding As The SAE Initiator:

  1. Acknowledge the feedback with gratitude.
  2. Replace defensiveness with curiosity and empathy.
  3. Follow through and follow up.

Think before you speak. Ask yourself:

  • Is what I am about to say/ask based on stereotypes or assumptions about a marginalized group?
  • Is what I am about to say/ask unnecessarily intrusive?
  • Am I overstepping?
  • Is what I am about to say based in kindness and generosity or the opposite?
  • Do I have the authority/right to tell/ask this person to comply with my request?
  • Is this a good use of my authority/privilege?
  • Would I say the same thing to a person of a different gender/color/race, etc.?
  • Is this going to make the person feel inadequate or as if they don’t belong?
  • Does this question their normalcy or make them feel like a threat or a curiosity?
  • Will this make someone feel invisible, as if they are not an individual?

SAE Accountability in the workplace:

  • Expect SAE to happen
  • Communicate the norm
  • practice speaking up

What was her reasoning for making this change? ie, what is downside of using the term “microagression”?

:dart: [emphasis added]

That is useful to explain: “micro” minimizes the impact it might have on the subject and “aggression” can make the initiator defensive when someone calls it out.

I am familiar with Derald Wing Sue’s book, and always use the term “microagressions”, but I can see their point. I wonder if the research community will take up this new term.

One of the authors of the book quoted in this article. The closing paragraph (a quote from them) sums it up nicely:

“When we learn better, we do better,” says Jana. “The term ‘microaggression’ is an insult to everyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of it, and it’s a copout for the people who continue to initiate them.” Whatever term we land on — microaggression, subtle act of exclusion, racial abuse, or exclusionary behavior — Jana reminds us that “it needs to be something that doesn’t let people off the hook so easily and doesn’t minimize the harm that it causes to actual people.”