This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Thursday, 24 November 2016

Micro-aggression: a rant.

Micro-aggression? 

Is that something like spitting in the cup when you're making someone's coffee? Or using both armrests on a plane? Or clearing the throat meaningfully when the girl on the desk is ignoring you?

No, no. Those aren't micro enough. Think smaller.

...um...keeping your coat on when visiting someone's house?

No, smaller still.

...saying thank you in a slightly sarcastic tone of voice when the barman has slurped beer over the top of the glass?

Smaller.

...um...wearing lots of perfume?

Okay, look, I can see you're not going to get it. Micro-aggression is a verbal attack of which the attack bit only exists in the mind of the observer. It's the sort of thing where the reply to What a lovely hat! Might be: Why, what's wrong with it?

Micro-aggression isn't a stupid concept, because that sort of thing certainly exists, but it's an extremely stupid label for this sort of behaviour because a) there's nothing either small or aggressive about it, and b) it puts the blame on an entirely innocent party.

We already have a word for it, anyway.

Paranoia.

And, no, I wasn't meaning to imply any personal criticism to anyone when I mentioned the armrest thing. Really.

Okay?

Word To Consider Today: paranoia. This word is Greek for frenzy, from paranoos, distrught, from para- near, plus noos, mind.


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