Combat and prevent

Victims of microaggressions can choose strategies to address microaggressions based on existing power dynamics, the setting and context of a situation, how victims feel in the moment and their relationship with the perpetrator. Below are techniques bystanders and victims can use to help perpetrators understand the impacts of their behavior and stop them from enacting microaggressions.


Finding humor 

When somebody perpetrates a microaggression, a sarcastic response or a joking question from a victim can humanize the victim in the eyes of the perpetrator. This strategy can be effectively used by victims to address microaggressions because it helps perpetrators realize how outlandish their behavior is.



Teaching perpetrators about why their behaviors are microaggressions may cause them to recognize the problem with their actions. By explaining the context behind offensive behavior, victims and bystanders can teach perpetrators why certain actions are damaging. If perpetrators learn the impact and historical ties of their actions, they may stop the harmful behavior.



Sharing how microaggressive behaviors can make victims feel may resonate with perpetrators. Bystanders can also share their discomfort with a comment, even if they are not related to the marginalized group being targeted. This strategy can help perpetrators understand the impact of their actions, so they can be more thoughtful about their behavior moving forward. 



Asking questions is a strategy victims and bystanders can use to make perpetrators of microaggressions reflect on their behavior. Perpetrators may realize the harmfulness of their actions and the seriousness of the situation after being questioned about their behavior.