Awareness of Microaggression

Microaggression comes in all forms, from all cultures. If you say you have never encountered microaggression – sorry, my friend. You are lying!

Microaggression hurt the most when it is unintentional. We speak faster than we think. We act faster than we think. THINK.

On my last flight, I sat next to a woman. I immediately put her in the Asian box, as her appearance was Asian. In the first 15 minutes of the flight I was gathering my thoughts on how to approach her as I know some basic words in Korean and Chinese and our flight was heading to Korea…so I assumed. Me not finding a topic to start a conversation, waited until I was approached. When it was time for our food, she said in very perfect English, would you like some extra water, since she got two bottles. Out of nowhere, I blurted, “Oh, you speak English.” With a slight smile she nodded and said: “Yes, I was born in the States.” I wish the world could suck me in. She saw my reaction of instant regret and apologized and said that it was okay, she gets it a lot. AGAIN – please, world, swallow me in. SHE apologized for MY reaction.


This is a common mistake I find people making a lot. Especially when traveling in Asian countries. She was nice enough to brush it off her shoulder, but if this is a regular occurrence, this would make her feel like “When will I ever belong!” “When will I ever be excepted!”

As humans, it is in our nature to judge, to classify and to speak before we think. We need to make the world realize that with the simplest gestures we can hurt so many. We might not be able to bring this attention to all people around the world, but what if we could implement learning about more cultures in school and especially focus on empathy for others? Every country now, as far as I know, have their own educational system, and only (mostly) teach about their own country and the history of their country. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to learn about your own country, but maybe if we can create understanding for people that are different from us, children could be the carrier of great hope for our world!!

Here are some pictures to think about next time you want to ask something about someone else:





6 thoughts on “Awareness of Microaggression

  1. lovejoy55 says:

    Esthe, you have gripped the heart of all of us. Your blog has so much communication and understanding in it. Thank you so much for your design and knowledge in putting this together. It will remind us colleagues and America to put more effort into acceptance and not critical judgments of others’ differences.


  2. allthingsbeauty1 says:

    Hello Esthe,
    I’m back for another week! I just love your blog and the insights you have for me and others each week. I’m guilty of the same thing speaking before I totally have all my thoughts together, I’m so thankful for this weeks topic because this has allowed me to do some self- reflection. It also makes me a bit more sensitive about how other people interact with me. I’m so grateful to have the insight I have and the trait of self- awareness. Thank you Esthe again for such a beautiful post!
    Khadijah M.


  3. fortheluvofeducatingourchildrenblog says:

    Hi Esthe,
    Your Blog expands on so many points and I just love how you share the different photos to support what we all are grasping in this course. Visuals is always another way to express to people in society how particular comments can make people in this society feel like because I agree it so common and easy. It’s easy to assume then to ask directly excuse me do you speak English or your cultural language more when your in the United States.
    Thank you for sharing.


  4. Denece Young says:

    Esthe Van,

    Your blog page, in general, is amazing and this weeks response was great.

    I want to say that to your defense it is often assumed when looking at someone they are of a specific race. Like you, I have learned that while a person may come from a specific race they may identify and or can identify with other other social groups. It is nothing to be ashamed of it is all a learning experience.


  5. Risonia Black says:

    Love your page!!! The pictures and the message says a lot. I can tell that you have shown a great interest in this topic. Thanks for the information.


  6. educatereadwriteexplore says:

    Esthe Van Aswegan,
    This post is really great. I have done that before and the person was nice yet offended by the fact. We need to be careful of how we make assumptions and address people. We are so comfortable to ask and say things that we shouldn’t say. I know many occasions when I wish I would of asked more questions or waited until I knew more about a person before I made a comment.


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