There is no such thing as a micro-aggression

Bullying often takes the form of “micro-aggression.” Little things that the bully can do that are small enough to not be a big deal. Something that they can deny. Something they can pretend wasn’t meant to hurt and that if you got hurt, they you are just being sensitive.

We need to put the lie of “micro-aggression” to rest. There is no such thing as a micro-aggression.

Bullying tip: 41: What to do if you witness someone being bullied.

No one is bothered that much when an individual does something or says something that accidentally hurts someone.

What gets people upset is when these “accidents” aren’t accidents. When they occur repeatedly and endlessly. At this point – it’s not a “micro-incident” it’s a pattern of behavior that serves no legitimate purpose except to make the target upset.

In other words – a pattern of micro-aggression fits the definition of bullying/harassment. A pattern of behavior that serves no legitimate purpose except to harass the target.

The idea that targets of this sort of pattern of harassment are too sensitive is BS. It’s just an excuse bullies use to try and get away with their openly aggressive behavior. Don’t let them get away with it.

Look for the pattern!!!!!

One of the problems we have when dealing with bullying is that we treat each instance of harassment as an isolated event. If someone tells us they are being bullied or harassed – we ask for an example.

Often that example is a micro-aggression. Someone said something rude. The very sort of thing most people aren’t bothered by. So why is this person feeling bullied? Admit it – you’ve thought this when someone reported bullying or harassment to you.

Which is why – you should instead – look for the pattern. When someone says – I’m being bullied. And you say – give me an example. And they give you an example. And it’s something small and insignificant. Your next question should be –

How often does something like this happen!!!!!

Bullying is a pattern of behavior. It involves multiple instances of obnoxious targeted, micro-harassment. Asking how often this happens – helps you see the pattern. Telling a victim of harassment that what happened wasn’t a big deal – because all you learned about was a single incident – isn’t helpful. Look for the pattern. Ask about the pattern. Respond to the pattern.

There is no such thing as a micro-aggression. It’s just aggression. repeated, ongoing aggression. In a form that is easily excused. We need to stop excusing it. And the way to do that – is to make sure you understand how often it happens.

How often can these micro-aggressions happen?

I’m glad you asked. One of the first kids to utilize my toolkit, when they finally got the courage to use the documentation log, they documented over 30 instances of harassment in a single day including a death threat.

If you had asked this little kid what was going on – they probably would have told you – so and so is being mean to me. Give me an example. He told me I was stupid. The adults’ response to that is to them treat that as an isolated incident. It was not. It was a pattern of behavior that was undeniably aggressive.

The next time someone is sharing a story with you – and you think – why are they so upset about that – it’s a micro-aggression. It’s nothing. Remember – almost everyone is capable of dealing with single incidences of cruelty. They wouldn’t be telling you there was a problem – UNLESS – the problem was ongoing and endless.

There is no such thing as a micro-aggression. Repeated little annoying incidents is HOW bullying/harassment manifests. So stop ignoring it and start paying attention to the pattern.

For parents and educators

If your child is having problems and you can’t seem to get a handle on what exactly is happening, use my toolkit to help your child . It really does help kids gain the confidence to take this one. The documentation log is freely available to anyone. It will help you help kids (and adults) by focusing on the pattern and frequency of the unwanted behavior instead of getting everyone sidetracked on a single micro-aggression.