A microaggression is any verbal behavior or action that leaves an individual with feelings of inferiority. Sometimes people do this unconsciously and do not mean any harm.
I have a little Caucasian girl in my classroom and even though she has been there for a couple of weeks she still comes in and keep to herself. Mind you that my class is majority African American children and they would not play with her. I was just looking and listening to them play and I tried to encourage them to play with her but they really did not make an attempt to entertain her. I walked around and listened to them talk. I overheard one of the little girls say that she was not her friend because she was “white” and that she did not want to play with her. The little girl, we will call “Emily” was very hurt because all she wanted to do was play with the rest of the girls and be a part of the group. She started to cry and I pulled her to the side and I asked her what was wrong even though I heard everything. She said she meaning, “Samantha” said she did not want to play with me because I am white. I called over Samantha and I had a talk with her and let her know that what she said was not nice and that she hurt Emily’s feelings and that we should not call people names. I do not teach racism in my class, I let all my children know that even though we may be different skin colors that we are all friends. The type of microagression that was displayed by Samantha was microinsult microaggression. Although she may not have meant to harm or hurt her intentionally with her words, she did. I felt so bothered by the comment that Samantha said because that was something out of the norm for her. I really felt bad for Emily because I knew how it felt to be left out or discriminated on because the color of your skin.
After looking back over my observation and even my life itself, I am easily reminded on how easily we can pass judgement on others, be bias, discriminate, be racist, and prejudice, and then we wonder why we are called names in the first place. In learning and acquiring the knowledge and information on microagression this week, my perception on the effects of discrimination, prejudice, and/or stereotypes on people has opened my eyes to see that no matter where we go racism will still exist. Children do not know anything about racism, discrimination, and prejudice unless it is being taught to them from their parents. My heart always goes out to those who are treated as though they are nothing, being called “bad” names, because I can relate to those situations and I am the type of person who would do anything for anyone no matter what race the person may be. I love what I do and I love working with children, and I will make it my business as an early childhood educator to teach love and not hate, peace and not violence, friendships and not enemies, and most of all encourage them to love themselves and let them know that it is okay to not be accepted by others although one might want to.