Can subtle slights cause serious harm? Does it matter if no harm was intended? Are microaggressions in the eye of the beholder? Or are they a way to keep certain groups in their place? This week we’re thinking about Microaggressions.
What Is It
Microaggressions are small comments or questions that may be insulting or hurtful to another person because of their race, gender, sexuality, and so on. Some people consider microaggressions to be a phantom symptom of political correctness and a further sign that society has become “soft,” while others see them as a problematic way of normalizing bigotry. So how do microagressions compare to other types of moral harms? Do they add up to structural oppression, and if so, how are we to assign individual culpability? Josh and Ray engage calmly with Lauren Freeman from the University of Louisville, co-editor of Microaggressions and Philosophy.