Sometimes when I’m hit with a microaggression, I have a delayed reaction. Like yesterday. I went to lunch at a French restaurant where there was an open kitchen and as I was sitting down to the table, the chef looked at me and said, “I don’t have any duck.”
MOTHERFUCKER. SAY. WHAT?!
Now that’s some racist shit if I’ve ever heard, but in the moment, I was with good company and it’s as if my body/mind/spirit knew an angry outburst at that moment would serve nobody; as gratifying as it may be in the moment, no long term satisfaction would come of me jumping over the counter and grabbing the chef by the collar and shaking the shit outta him. So, my body/mind/spirit deflected the comment and it didn’t even sink in. I enjoyed a deliciously prepared fish served over wild rice with asparagus. And then, hours later, when I was preparing dinner, the chef’s comment landed in my consciousness. Anger swelled as I processed his comment and thought about the nature of microaggressions and why they’re so infuriating. They are so subtle, that others who witness them happening may be apt to say, “Oh, they didn’t mean anything. You’re just being sensitive.” But here’s the thing, that witness wasn’t around for the other dozen microaggressions that have all accumulated over the past week. They don’t understand the bigger picture, the full context.
If I don’t check myself, the anger I feel from encounters like the one with the chef seeps into my life and just sloshes around, mostly unnoticed but disturbing to my equilibrium.
I witness people say rude/racist/misogynistic/unkind things all the time. It seems contagious. It’s accepted as normal. I don’t think ignoring these things and living in a bubble or alternate optimistic reality is the answer. I know each of us has the power to diffuse the anger that’s spreading across the Earth, the question is are we willing to put in the work to save ourselves?