Microaggressions are complicated. They’re often intended to be funny or kind but they end up being derogatory and offensive.

You don’t act like a normal black person
You’re so articulate
Oh, you’re gay? You should meet my friend Ann. She’s gay, too!
The way you’ve overcome your disability is so inspiring
Your name is so hard to pronounce
Where are you really from?

And often the receiver doesn’t complain but prefers ‘not to make a big deal of it’ and avoid being asked ‘why are you so sensitive?’

Unfortunately most of us have unwittingly subjected someone to microaggression at some time.
This 1-minute video is thought-provoking.


  • Paul Stevens

    CEO, Mayflower College, Plymouth, UK

    Paul has been involved in English language training and testing for the past 30 years, specializing in Aviation English, Maritime English, Academic English and Business English. His latest project is SayWhatEnglish.com, looking at the communication process 'from the other side', at how native-English speakers can filter and simplify their English and have a better understanding of the challenges ESL speakers face.