Microaggression, Erasure, and Genocide

Recently I read a post by  Native Appropriations about the usurpation of Native tribal identities by European-Americans in California. Near the end of the piece she wrote:

“People often argue that there is nothing wrong with playing Indian –that dressing up or donning headdresses does no harm. I find it hard to imagine that someone could watch that video and think that a young Native child encountering that scene would walk away unscathed.”

These seemingly innocuous insults to Self and culture are sometimes called “microaggressions“. Micro-aggressions are subtle attacks on a person or group, assaults that undermine confidence and selfhood. They occur in families, workplaces, and the larger social environment. They are aimed at the perceived other, including spouses, persons with disabilities, and ethnic and racial minorities.  Often they are actions quite difficult to read as aggression, and are easily justified or reinterpreted by the person who originates the attack. Taken as an aggregate, microaggressions are immensely destructive over time. Continue reading