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micro- +‎ aggression, coined by American psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce in 1970.


microaggression (countable and uncountable, plural microaggressions)

  1. (sociology, chiefly US) Any small-scale verbal or physical interaction between those of different races, cultures, beliefs, or genders that may have no malicious intent, but that can be interpreted as an aggression.
    • 2014 February 18, Graeme Hamilton, “McGill student forced to apologize for racial ‘microaggression’ after emailing joke Obama clip”, in National Post[1], retrieved February 19, 2014:
      At McGill, someone has established a McGill Microaggressions website inviting students and staff to report instances of “sexism, heteropatriarchy, transphobia, classism, racism [and] ableism.”
    • 2020 March 3, Hahna Yoon, “How to Respond to Microaggressions”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      For many of us, microaggressions are so commonplace that it seems impossible to tackle them one at a time. Psychologists often compare them to death by a thousand cuts.
    • 2021, John H. McWhorter, chapter 6, in Woke Racism, New York: Forum, →ISBN:
      Ask whether microaggressions merit the same response as physical assault and the Elect do not receive this as a challenging query.


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