What do Black people smell like?

“You speak really good English.” “Your pretty…. For a Black girl.” “You’re only hear because you got one of those minority scholarships, right?” “ Why don’t you just use your womanhood(bottoms, boobs,etc) to get________________.” “ Your supposed to be strong, you’re a guy!” “ Do you wash your hair?” “It smells like Black people in here!!!” this one is a personal favorite, and was asked of me just a few weeks ago, by a person that lives in my dorm, who decided to visit my room one afternoon. I quickly asked her to leave(amid nervous, shocked not quite laughter), citing that I couldn’t guarantee her safety or my response to such an ignorant statement.

Quite honestly the list of interactions with these bold comments and questions can go on and on. But what are these insults covered in innocent questions called?How do you describe these demeaning questions that somehow make your blood boil, but you aren’t supposed to ask “what the hell do you mean?” These questions, assumptions, and ignorant babble are called microaggressions. Yes microaggressions, you may not have heard of this before. Quite honestly, I just begin looking at this when I had one too many ,”Are you sure you can afford this?” and “ Can you teach me how to twerk?” questions, that somehow implied that due to who I am I can’t pay, and I am an expert twerker who has dedicated all 19 years to perfecting the dance.
Microaggressions are defined by Fordham University are brief exchanges that send denigrating messages to marginalized groups. Basically when someone senda a message of “ your not as good as me or your weird or somehow subhuman” to someone that is somehow different then them. This occurs most often between those who are “in power” and those “who are not”. This chart explains the idea of racial microaggressions in this chart. There are different types of microaggressions including gender, sexuality, age, and many more.

Microaggressions are sometimes tricky and hard to catch. But, we have to make an effort to battle them in our everyday conversation, humor, verbal and non-verbal observations of others.

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