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How can I deal with microaggressions at work?

It’s important for workers in Missouri to feel comfortable in their place of work. Microaggressions, or seemingly miniscule slights based on a person’s race, ethnicity, or other criteria, can contribute to a hostile workplace and increase employee dissatisfaction over time. CNBC offers the following information on common workplace microaggressions and what you can do about them.

Comments on hair and grooming

Many workers who are people of color are subject to frequent comments about hair and grooming. While these comments may seem innocent, they actually cause quite a bit of discomfort for the subject of the slight, especially when they’re a common occurrence. If you feel comfortable doing so, pull the person aside and explain why these comments and others like them are not welcome in the workplace. If the person is in a position of authority over you, consider enlisting the help of human resources.

Praise for being articulate

One would think that complimenting someone on their speaking ability would be positive. In some cases, calling a person of color articulate can be seen as a back-handed compliment. There may be an implied belief that the rest of this person’s ethnic or racial group does not speak properly, making the person being praised an outlier. In this case, thank the person for the compliment but also try to start a dialogue about why a person would say that to you and not someone else.

Being ignored or dismissed during meetings

Interruptions during meetings are not only rude, they may also be an example of a microaggression. In some cases, a person who’s an authority on a certain subject may be considered less knowledgeable due to race or gender. If it’s a continuous issue, speak with higher-ups on a way to educate staff. The person may need to be called out during meetings, and this is usually the most successful when several people are onboard.

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