What is Microagression?
The best definition of microagression I have read is in an article from by Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D., and David Rivera, M.S. in Psychology Today
Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment.
Examples of Microagression towards people in the Autism community
Denise Scott and her joke about people at the 2011 Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Gala.
“I can’t stand people who say they are alcoholic or have mild Aspergers or celiac, when the fact is they’re just plain old-fashion f***ed up people with a few behavioural problems,” Scott said.”
Hidden Message: You people don’t have a REAL problem or disability. You are just a person that (regularly) makes bad decisions and exhibits bad behaviour and tries to hide behind a fake label to cover for it. The ‘joke’ fits perfectly into the definition above. It is a hostile message hidden insider a ‘joke’ that invalidates the experiences of people with Alcoholism, Aspergers and Celiac disease, demeans them and communicates that they are lesser human beings. Things like this aren’t funny and demonstrate underlying discriminatory attitudes.