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 high school, when I told a classmate that my brother, a national merit finalist and one of the top students in his class, was accepted into Princeton University, the classmate responded with a question about the school’s affirmative action policies. Though masked in a seemingly benign question, microaggressions such as this bear the assumption that Black people are not able to achieve any type of greatness on their own and thereby reinforce white supremacy in just as significant a way (if not a more) as overt racism.
*Source: Psychology Today.