Re4 Individual Response framework for responding to the microaggression or bias manifestation
Step 1: RECOGNIZE: Use your training (from Part 1) to identify manifested biases and microaggressions
Step 2: REFRAME:
- First “smell the roses and blow out the candles”.
- Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Assume that s/he is well intended.
- Ask yourself what positive lessons this situation can teach you about yourself and about the other people in the room.
- Might you be overreacting? Unlikely but possible
Step 3: RESPOND:
- Timing: do you want to respond now or later?
- Venue: Do you want to respond in public or ask to step out with the person?
- If you wish to respond in the moment, weigh your options:
- What is the help-hurt ratio?
- Climate in the room
- Power differential
- Levels of trust
- Don’t retaliate with a microaggression
- What is the help-hurt ratio?
- What technique do you want to use to respond in the moment?
- Repeat and explain, correct, clarify, give the benefit of the doubt, use humor to call out indirectly, call out directly etc.Talk about the other person’s behavior and your feelings.
- Limit yourself to the present situation (do not bring up past issues)
Step 4: REMEDIATE: Take corrective action afterward: The Latin remediātiō (stem remediātiōn- ) means “process of healing”. The verb remediāre means “to treat (successfully), cure.
- Gauge the urgency of the situation
- Contemporaneous documentation
- Discuss with a trusted confidante
- Report the offender
- Create an action plan collaboratively
- Take your own emotional pulse
- Read the room
- Recipient of the microaggression or bias will be struggling with strong emotions. How can you support the recipient?
- The aggressor will respond with strong emotion when called out. How are you going to manage it?
- Empathetic perspective taking: try to see this interaction through the eyes of other participants.
- Empathetic fault tolerance
- Empathetic skepticism of self
Sample empathy statements:
- I can see how much this is impacting you
- I can’t even imagine how you must be feeling
- I am so sorry this is happening
- I can see how much you care about this issue (to the aggressor)
- You work hard to do and support the right thing. So, I feel comfortable raising this issue (to the aggressor)
- Please correct me if I misspoke
MICROVALIDATIONS TO COUNTER MICROAGGRESSIONS:
- Remember the microvalidation: microaggression ratio
- Amplify the recipient’s voice
- Spotlight the recipient’s professional skills and talents as relevant
The Thinker-Stickler-Tinker framework (TST) framework
Assign the following three roles to three individuals in each team:
- The Thinker
The role of this person on the team is to establish a rigorous process. When reviewing team members or evaluating candidates for a new position, the “thinker” should ask the team to establish clear written criteria by consensus.
- The Stickler
Once the criteria are established in writing by the “thinker” the “stickler” should work with the thinker to ensure that these criteria are followed and speak up when the group strays from the written criteria they established. The “stickler” will also serve as the “stinker” and challenge the decisions of the team and ask them to explain their rationale. This will make the team deliberate carefully and make thoughtful decisions as they know that they will have to justify their decisions. The “stickler” will also express reservations and not be easily convinced about the decisions made by the group unless it is clear that they are abiding by the consensus criteria established by the “thinker”.
- The Tinker
This person should serve as a keen observer and take notes of any evidence of bias and microaggressions. At regular intervals (daily, weekly etc.) , the “tinker” should share these observations with the team. If the team is held accountable, they will be more respectful when interacting with each other. The “tinker” should strive to develop brave and safe spaces to discuss biases. No naming or shaming any individuals as the goal is to gently improve the organizational culture without belittling individuals.
The thinker, stickler, and tinker roles should be rotated among team members at a regular frequency.
Do NOT assign these roles exclusively to women and minorities. Everyone in the team should take these roles on a rotatory basis.
Glossary of Terms
Microaggressions are defined as the everyday slights, indignities, put-downs, and insults that people of color, women, LGBTIA+ populations, or those who are marginalized experience in their day-to-day interactions with people.
Explicit “derogations characterized primarily by a violent verbal, nonverbal, or environmental attack meant to hurt the intended victim through name-calling, avoidant behavior, or purposeful discriminatory actions.”
Communications that the speaker may not consciously mean to be derogatory, but that nevertheless convey rudeness and insensitivity and “demean a person’s racial, gender, or sexual orientation, heritage, or identity.”
Microinvalidations are communications that are often unconscious but they specifically “exclude, negate, or nullify the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality” of the listener.
Macro-level; workplace reflections of microaggressions; systematic or institutional rules or environment that discriminate
Hierarchical microaggressions are the everyday slights that occur in a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to perceived status or authority.
Gaslighting is a subtle form of psychological manipulation that makes the recipient question their own experiences and reality.
Microvalidations are small acts of support that are very effective in increasing the sense of belongingness of the recipient.
Unconscious or implicit bias describes associations or attitudes that reflexively alter our perceptions, thereby affecting behavior, interactions, and decision-making.
We prefer people who are similar to ourselves.
We make judgments about a person based on our assumptions about the entire group rather than the individual.
We accept information that confirms our previously held beliefs and reject information that contradicts our beliefs.
We tend to agree with the group rather than express our disagreement.
Bias Blind Spot
We identify biases in other people but cannot see our own biases.
We tend to favor possibilities that come to mind quickly and easily.
A mental shortcut that allows you to take stock of the situation quickly and arrive at a judgment speedily.
Anchoring and adjustment heuristic
Anchoring bias is a cognitive bias that causes us to rely too heavily on the first piece of information we are given about a topic. Individuals use an initial piece of information as the anchor to make subsequent judgments.
The availability bias is the human tendency to use recent events and memories to form a judgment on the likelihood of an outcome.
The representativeness heuristic is a mental shortcut that we use when making judgments about probability.
someone who does not remain silent and instead takes action to interrupt or prevent bullying or discriminatory behavior. Upstanders take proactive roles in advocating for change despite personal risks, which we will address later.
A strategic mechanism used by individuals to become collaborators, accomplices, and coconspirators who fight injustice and promote equity in the workplace through supportive personal relationships and public acts of sponsorship and advocacy.