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Microaggressions—What are they? Linda L. Barnes, PhD, MA, MTS Professor of Family Medicine, BUSM and Division of Graduate Religious Studies, BU Director,

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Presentation on theme: "Microaggressions—What are they? Linda L. Barnes, PhD, MA, MTS Professor of Family Medicine, BUSM and Division of Graduate Religious Studies, BU Director,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Microaggressions—What are they? Linda L. Barnes, PhD, MA, MTS Professor of Family Medicine, BUSM and Division of Graduate Religious Studies, BU Director, M.S. Program in Medical Anthropology & Cross-Cultural Practice, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences, BUSM

2 Structural Violence Johan Galtung, 1969 Cultural/Structural o What it legitimizes o Vehicles o Moral valence Institutional expressions Interpersonal: Overt vs. Microaggression

3 Microaggressions Brief, everyday exchanges = diminishing messages Because s/o belongs to a minority group In business, “microinequities”: Patterns of being overlooked, under-respected, devalued because of group Often unconsciously delivered: o Subtle snubs o Dismissive looks, gestures, and tones. Pervasive and automatic in daily conversations interactions Often dismissed and glossed over as innocent/ innocuous (Sue et al. Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life. American Psychologist 2007; 62(4): )

4 Blind Spots Unearned social privilege: o We all have at least one (but don’t like to say so) o Target/Non-Target Blind spots o We all have at least one kind (but don’t necessarily know it) Daily effects o We are all likely to enact/experience at least one set (but often don’t recognize doing so)

5 Defenses Against Recognizing Microaggressions Denial Minimization Blame Redefinition Belittling humor Unintentionality Singling out It’s over now It’s only a few Counterattack Competing victimization Tokenism

6 Moral Injury Wounds to the spirit from events that “transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations,” that go beyond PTSD Being asked (or ordered) to act in ways that appear to be supported by one’s surroundings, but that violate one’s moral core Impact of enculturation into bias

7 Physician Burnout: External Factors

8 What is a Bystander? Anyone who sees or otherwise becomes aware of behavior that appears worthy of comment or action What is the “Bystander Effect”? From passive to active bystander, acting on one’s values Who’s responsibility is it to act?

9 Action Steps 1.Be ready 2.Identify the behavior: What is unhealthy, abusive behavior? 3.Appeal to principles 4.Set limits 5.Draw on intervention strategies 6.Find an Ally/Be an Ally Discrimination I Step UP! Program


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