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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: How have you responded to microaggressions?

Protesters carry signs reading 'Stop Asian Hate' and 'Asians are not viruses. Racism is.'
Protesters Dana Liu, center front, and Kexin Huang, right, attend a Stop Asian Hate rally in Massachusetts in March, shortly after the Atlanta spa shootings.
(Steven Senne / Associated Press)

Racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders can be difficult to explain and challenging to get others to take seriously. And it can often come in the form of microaggressions — having your history and culture explained to you, being complimented for speaking English, or being mistaken for someone else at work, to name a few.

Psychologists refer to microaggressions as “death by a thousand cuts,” according to Derald Wing Sue, a professor of psychology at Columbia University and author of “Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation.”

They can come from out of the blue, sometimes from well-intentioned people. However, those on the receiving end can feel regret or frustration for not knowing how to respond in the moment.

This year, during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we’re seeing escalating anti-Asian violence, but we’re also having conversations about how to find pride in being Asian American, to build community, to learn from our history and to learn from each other.

So we want to illustrate how people actually respond in the moment to microaggressions — things that work, things that don’t, things that you wish you had done a little differently.

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We know you’ve experienced them, so tell us about your strategies for countering microaggressions, and we’ll publish the best advice.


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