June 17, 2020

Day 3: Microaggressions

DAY 3 Of YWCA Spokane’s 14-Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge

We hope this challenge provides you with an opportunity to better understand concepts related to race, power, privilege, and leadership.

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6 | DAY 7 | DAY 8 | DAY 9 | DAY 10 | DAY 11 | DAY 12 | DAY 13 | DAY 14

Thank you for taking this challenge! If this is your first day of joining us for the 14-day equity challenge, welcome. If you are returning after day 1 & 2 of the challenge, nice work! We are glad you are here. From Monday, June 15th through Sunday, June 28th, YWCA Spokane will send, those who sign up for our challenge, daily emails prompting you to take time to learn about racial equity and social justice.

We encourage you to take note of any insights in a daily log or diary. Consider setting aside time to talk with friends about what you have learned and how the topics introduced impact our community. Consider inviting your network to join you on this challenge and share on social media with #ywcaequitychallenge. Thank you!


As shared by Kimberly Davis, EWU Senior Director for Diversity and Inclusion, “microaggressions are 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”.

Microaggressions include three main categories:
    • Microassaults: Conscious and deliberate, either subtle or explicit discriminatory actions against another based on that person’s heritage or identity.
    • Microinsults: Often unconscious communications that subtly convey rudeness and insensitivity and demean a person’s heritage or identity.
    • Microinvalidations: Often unconscious communications that subtly exclude, negate, or nullify the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of a person’s identity.

Microaggressions often include hidden messages reflecting oppressive worldviews that can create and support marginalization, which is the treatment of a person, group, or concept as insignificant. An example of a Microaggression is when a white person clutches their purse or checks their wallet as a black or Latino man approaches or passes by. The hidden message is “you and your group are criminals.”

Most of us think of ourselves as decent, moral members of our community, possessing no ill intent towards others. The realization that our intent does not always align with our impact, or that we hold a biased worldview, can feel very disturbing. Instead of confronting the realization that we engaged in a harmful action (regardless of intent), many prefer to deny or diminish the action while at the same time avoiding accountability.

It is important to note that while our focus today is on racial microaggressions, other microaggressions do exist, such as gendered microaggressions or economic microaggressions. 

If you have…

5 Minutes


10 Minutes


15 Minutes

and and
Watch this video 
from Keele University that highlights racial microaggressions that students have faced at their university and how it affects them.
and Read this blog post 
by Derald Wing Sue Ph.D. about everyday microaggressions and his analysis of the hidden messages within.
and Read this article
by Kevin Nadal with Cuny Forum about how one might respond to a microaggression and what to do if we commit a microaggression.

DAILy Reflection

Once you have completed today’s challenge, take a moment to reflect on any insights you experienced. How did the challenge make you feel? What is something you learned? Did you notice anything about yourself after taking the challenge? Consider sharing this new awareness with a friend or group to help deepen your understanding of the information. Consider tracking your reflections on the below daily log or start an online group with friends to encourage daily sharing with each other about the challenge topics.

Challenge Reflection Log

Share each challenge online with #YWCAEquityChallenge

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6 | DAY 7 | DAY 8 | DAY 9 | DAY 10 | DAY 11 | DAY 12 | DAY 13 | DAY 14

Do you have resources you think we should share? We welcome you to let us know by leaving your comments here

By: Rachel Dannen

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