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Michigan State University

DEI Resources: Bias & Microagressions

Definitions

Bias: a predisposition, prejudice or generalization about a group of persons based on personal characteristics or stereotypes.

Implicit bias: Refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. Residing deep in the subconscious, these biases are different from known biases that individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or political correctness.

Microaggressions: The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment. Microaggressions are rooted in ideologies such as racism, classism, sexism, cissexism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism, colonialism, as well as other discriminatory belief systems.

Anti-Violence Project. Glossary. University of Victoria.

Jen Fry. The Anti-Racist Manual for Students.

Ontario Human Rights Commission. Glossary of human rights terms.

Bias

Microaggressions

Michigan State University