“Where Are You From?” – An Introduction To Microaggressions

8 December 2017


As a leading provider of therapeutic and education services, Momentous Institute focuses on building and repairing social-emotional health — developing kids who become self-regulated, good communicators, problem-solvers, empathetic, grateful, gritty and optimistic.

If you’ve been in any conversations about race, you’ve likely heard the term “microaggressions”. You may be wondering two things – what are they, and what is the big deal?

Microagressions are small infractions that communicate a bias of some kind. They’re often unintentional or even subconscious and are not even clearly racially motivated. But they pass along small messages of racist concepts. (Microaggressions aren’t always race-related, either. People can use microaggressions related to gender, sexual orientation, ability/disability and more.)

To illuminate this idea, a few members of our Momentous staff shared examples of microaggressions that they personally have experienced, and what message that sent to them.

The most common question I get asked by strangers is “Where are you from?” When I tell them I was born and raised in Texas, they repeat the question, “No, I mean where are you from?” I usually respond with, “My family is from India and came here before I was born,” to which the usual response is, “Oh, I love India!” or something about wanting to visit or having visited.

The simple question of being asked where you are from indicates I’m not from this country and suggests I don’t belong here. 

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