Micro Aggressions

What Are They?

Micro Aggression, (Noun): A statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against minorities or under-represented communities.

Why Do I Need To Know This?

Marginalized groups are the subject of frequent micro-aggressions. These statements, actions, and instances make them uncomfortable or unwilling to remain and take part in horse-related activities. In order to increase diversity in equestrian sports, we need to educate people to understand and recognize these things as being a problem.

Examples of Micro Aggressions

One of the biggest problems in equestrian sports is we don’t talk often enough about what micro aggressions look like in our sport. Reading a definition is not always enough to understand what this looks like for minorities and under-represented communities. Below is a collection of micro aggressions straight from the source: minority and under-represented riders who have experienced them.

  • An example of micro aggressions in the horse world. Image 1, a white woman tells a another white woman holding a saddle "you got a new saddle, congrats!" Image 2, a white woman tells a black woman holding the same saddle "why do you always buy such cheap tack?"
  • Micro Aggressions: Your Horse

How Do I Stop My Micro Aggressions?

This is much easier said than done. Micro aggressions are born from your own internalized biases. The best way to stop them is to try. Make an effort. Think about what you say before you say it. Would you say that same thing to another person whose background was like your own? Stop and reflect on why your response would be different.

Research and education and experiences are another way to help combat your micro aggressions. Spend more time with people who aren’t like you! Be open-minded about things that seem strange or foreign to you. Try to understand things from their perspective, to put yourself in their shoes.

Be willing to apologize when you recognize your micro aggression or the other person calls you out for it. For many people, their immediate inclination is to become defensive or hostile or to see themselves as the victim when they are in fact the perpetrator and contribute to the problem – even unintentionally. Listen, hear the other person out, ask them thoughtful questions, and think critically about their answers.

You will make mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes. What’s important is what you do about those mistakes. Make them the learning and growth opportunity that they are instead and use your discomfort to build better cross-cultural fluency reduced internalized biases.

What Should I Do When I Am The Target of Micro Aggressions?

If you are from a minority or under-represented group, please know that you are not alone. Consider finding support groups, friends and peers that will lift you up and encourage you to continue doing what it is that you love with horses.

Speak up and speak out! You do not have to remain silent when someone is discriminating against you. Try some of these nifty disruptors and be honest and engage the person to get them to challenge their biased thinking.

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