The Women in Law Conference | Vienna | September 12-14, 2024

Microaggression and Micro-Discrimination Panel

How do we combat “microaggressions”? This subtle or indirect form of discrimination against a minority is severely detrimental to individuals and workplaces.

Microaggression and Micro-Discrimination Panel

The expert panel of Lizzette Robleto de Howarth, Therese Frank, Tiffany Alvoid, Ana Nestorovic, Lwando Xaso, J. Jarpa Dawuni, and Paula Tavares started by defining the complex terms microaggressions, micro-discriminations, intersectionality, and systemic racism, whereby the definition of the central term “microaggressions” can be summarized as subtle or indirect discrimination against a minority.

Recognize the impact of (micro-)discrimination

Intending to create a safe space, the panelists encouraged their audience to join in the discussion and share their personal experiences. The resulting discourse showed that everyone can be subject to microaggressions and reminded every participant to reflect upon their own (un)conscious biases. The discussion pictured the severely damaging impact of microaggressions and micro-discriminations. It proved that microaggressions are in fact not micro but macro and demonstrated that underlying biases are rather conscious than unconscious. The panelists further criticized how society frequently meets microaggressions with denial, excuses, and ignorance which allow people to get away even with repeated discriminatory behavior.

Reflect own your (un)conscious bias

To counter such dynamics, the panelists suggested recognizing the impact of microaggressions and micro-discriminations to stop replicating such actions and to stop trivializing and minimizing discriminatory or aggressive behavior. Furthermore, the discussion led to the consensus that education and intergenerational dialogue contribute to unraveling microaggressions and micro-discrimination. Last but not least, the panelists highlighted the importance of refining our language and of using language to challenge microaggressions. In conclusion, the panelists encouraged us to “Keep challenging yourselves and keep challenging others!”.

Institute educational programs that will help bridge societal, cultural, and generational gaps

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