Equity Challenge: Week 9
This is week 9 of the Equity Challenge, and today we will continue exploring interpersonal racism by delving into a common way that racism permeates person-to-person interactions: microaggressions.
As a reminder, you can track your own weekly reflections using the tracking tool. If you are hosting group conversations around our weekly topics, there is a group discussion guide created by our colleagues in central Iowa that has helpful suggestions on how to structure productive conversations. Click here to access the guide.
Week 9: Microaggressions
Here are some questions to get you thinking about microaggressions.

  • What are some of the challenges to identifying microaggressions in one-on-one situations? In groups?

  • Have you experienced a microaggression? How did it make you feel? How did you react?

  • What are some reasons that someone may share with you that you committed a microaggression? How do you react when someone tells you this?

  • While it may be impossible to always know when we commit a microaggression, what are some strategies to be more aware of when one occurs?
Microaggressions are the “everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership” (source).
Understanding and confronting microaggressions can be challenging because the realization that our intent does not always align with our impact, or that we hold a biased worldview, can feel very disturbing. Sometimes, instead of confronting the realization that we’ve committed a harmful action (regardless of intent), it may feel more comfortable to deny or diminish the action and avoid accountability.
As with internal bias, response and prevention to microaggressions requires awareness and education; it also requires listening, learning and working to understand the experience of discrimination that others face.
Week 9 Challenge
With the questions and definition above in mind, do at least one of the following:

Braids, Afros, Twists, Weaves: Hair Discrimination is One Way Blacks in Wisconsin Experience Routine Microaggressions (4-minute read)
This article shares accounts from residents of northeast Wisconsin that have experienced everyday microaggressions focused on hairstyles.
Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life (7-minute read)
Derald Wing Sue Ph.D. writes about everyday microaggressions and his analysis of the hidden messages within.

An Everyday Dimension of Racism: Why We Need to Understand Microaggressions (6:35)
This video from Keele University highlights racial microaggressions that students have faced at their university and how it affects them.
Eliminating Microaggressions: The Next Level of Inclusion (8:59)
Tiffany Alvoid lays out how microaggression manifests, the role you play, and what you can do to avoid perpetuating its continued existence in society.


Microaggressions are a Big Deal: How to Talk Them Out and When to Walk Away (21-minute listen)
Kevin Nadal, a professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has spent years researching and writing books on the effects of microaggressions. As these big structural issues play out, he says it's important to confront the small stuff. Listen to his interview with NPR.

Share your reflections or additional resources about today’s topic on social media using #EquityChallenge - or send us a note at unitedway@unitedwayracine.org
Learn more about the Challenge and review weekly topics by visiting
Local Resources
A weekly book discussion group reading books on race and racism.

A yearlong, faith-based series of interactive and multidimensional public events. The series goal is to increase our understanding of how we think and feel about racism, resulting in actions that can help to transform us as individuals and the systems of racism in our country. 

The YWCA of SEW Wisconsin offers a variety of trainings about different facets of equity, such as structural racism, cultural differences, social transformation and more.

Higher Expectations engages community partners, aligns efforts, and maximizes resources to promote excellence and equity in education and employment outcomes in Racine County.
Hear from Deanna Singh, Founder/Chief Change Agent of Flying Elephant and her husband Justin on how to talk to your children about race to help children develop a healthy understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Community Safe Zone Trainings are public events that provide education on the LGBTQ+ community. Register here.
Monday, March 29 at 5 p.m.

University of Wisconsin - Parkside
Center for Ethnic Studies Annual Conference
Wednesday, April 7 3:30 -7:15 p.m.
Make your commitment to inclusion—the active, intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity—official by signing our Declaration of Inclusion Pledge. This pledge is to respect and appreciate all aspects of any person, including race, religion, skin color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, physical abilities, age, parental status, work and behavioral styles, and the perspectives of each individual as shaped by their nation, culture and experiences. You will also receive our quarterly diversity newsletter to build your "equity muscle."