Recognizing Racial Microaggressions and Creating an Inclusive Health and Fitness Space
“Micro-aggression” may seem like a new buzzword in recent years as systemic racism and the issue of justice, diversity and inclusion have been the subject of much public debate and discussion, but the term has been used since 1970 in Chester. A psychiatrist, academic, and Harvard professor, Ph.D. Pierce calls it “subtle and subtle” to describe outrageous acts.
So, what are micro attacks? These can be defined as short, casual and accidental insults that incite hatred towards the affected group or community. They can be overt and deliberate, such as using a racial slur or drawing a swastika on a synagogue wall, or they can be inadvertently directed at a person or group, e.g. an organization based on their performance.
According to Rory G. James, director of the Indiana University Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion at Bloomington and special advisor to the American Council on Exercise, micro attacks stem from racial identity and public perceptions of people from different cultures.
It is important to note that micro-aggressions are not “micro” events for individuals or groups on the receiving end, and the terminology should not be misinterpreted to mean that aggression is strong and ineffective. In a recent Facebook Live event titled “Identifying Racial Microaggressions and Creating Unified Health and Fitness Spaces” hosted by Mr ASG James, he “micro” the frequency of these incidents and how they become patterns over time explained. This can be very problematic and emotionally exhausting.
Beyond the emotional and psychological impact on an individual or group, micro-attacks have real-world consequences. James used a script during a Facebook Live event where a hiring committee was discussing candidates for promotion positions at fitness facilities. One committee member was concerned about whether a black candidate would be a good fit for community members and facilities. This kind of micro-aggression, not to mention other people of color who may have a chance with the employer, can affect one’s career prospects if not challenged by other members of the committee.
Sue and colleagues, Drs. He extended Peirce’s work by creating three classifications of microaggressions.
The first is a subtle attack, which can be verbal or non-verbal. A micro attack is an explicit form of hostility aimed at causing harm. It could be bullying or physical abuse. For example, threatening to call the police is micro-salty and risks harming people who engage in harmless activities, such as walking in a public park or having a barbecue.
The second is micro insults. Minor insults are often unintentional and can take the form of insensitive comments or rude and insulting behavior. For example, commenting on the smell of someone’s lunch hot in the hall is an implicit insult, especially if their food is different from the speaker’s. Another example is thinking that a person of color speaks better or speaks well, or on the other side of the coin thinking that someone is less intelligent because they use vernacular or speak with an accent.
The third is subtle invalidation, which is opinion or behavior that ignores another person’s feelings or experiences. James gave some examples of micro-overrides during the Facebook Live event. Sometimes it’s called “color blind” to show that people don’t notice or consider someone’s skin color in their everyday interactions, and it’s done with good intentions. However, it negates the impact on a person’s identity. When something makes a difference to others, race needs to be defined. Consider, for example, a black man shopping at the mall when they say he is being chased by security. Distrusting them or saying it has happened to everyone is less likely to invalidate the experience than saying they are too sensitive.
“The sneaky nature of astral attacks, when they happen to you, you get swept away,” he says, and you begin to question your own understanding of the experience. Maybe the security guard was doing his job, or so I imagined. If you want to be an advocate or ally, it’s important to acknowledge that others may have different experiences than you because of their racial identity.
What does all this mean for the fitness industry?
Whether you work as an independent contractor, facility manager, or one of the many positions the fitness industry has to offer, the primary goal should be race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and… gender . , age, etc.
With this in mind, other social aspects of health like negative interpersonal interactions and micro-attacks in and around the facility, economic stability, education, healthy food, access to resources, good health care are overall good -as a professional or boss the last thing people need is a reason not to use your services giving. On a more human level, everyone should be treated with courtesy and respect, with courtesy and hospitality.
Think about how you might hold your organization, your co-workers, and even yourself to certain beliefs and practices. It’s important to remember that micro-attacks occurring anywhere in your facility (reception area, locker room, or gym floor) can disrupt participation and negatively impact relationships with clients or gym members.
Furthermore, denying individual racism or discrimination is itself a micro-aggression. We all have biases and beliefs that affect how we treat others. To unconsciously deny that your words or actions have negatively affected another person is to devalue the subtle life experience of the person you are dealing with. With this in mind it is clear that minimizing micro-aggressions is a challenging and ongoing challenge for any individual, organization or industry.