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Microaggressions: A Primer for the Food Allergy Community

Understanding Microaggressions and Their Impact

The term “microaggressions” gets thrown so much that it’s easy to think we know what the word means and how to avoid it. The truth is people can knowingly and unknowingly hurl microaggressions at others, causing a great deal of hurt and damaging relationships permanently. In this work, we will describe some of the microaggressions or slights people living with food allergy often face and how the things others say can potentially be interpreted.

First let’s start with a few vocabulary words.

Microaggression: A microaggression is a result of our biases against others. They are everyday subtle slights and snubs that can often be indirect in nature conveying hostility towards minorities or those in marginalized communities. They usually happen unknowingly and can be directed at age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.

Microinsult: A form of micro behavior, microinsults are directed specifically at a person’s ethnicity or heritage. They can be conveyed verbally or non-verbally. An example would be to say “you people are always looking for excuses for sympathy” (directed at a specific race/ethnicity).

Micro assaults: Micro assaults, unlike the others mentioned above are directed intentionally and consciously. An example would be to purposely display something that was offensive to a co-worker or student.

Now that we know what these are, we can talk about some of the slights that are directed at people in the food allergy community. Though most are unintentional, there are some that may be more direct and intentionally offensive. It may be hard to understand why some people would state some of the words you will find in the next few pages; however, the reality is that people have reported these statements as true as well as some of the feelings that accompany them. 

Download FAACT's Microaggressions Primer to read the full primer.