He recently spoke at Macalester College in Minnesota about microaggressions and talked to Mac Weekly. He says microaggressions such as ‘where are you really from’ objectify Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners
“Our view is that microaggressions toward Asian Americans often are based on stereotypes that are not necessarily laden with negative emotions (e.g., angry black man). Instead, they are based on stereotypes such as nerdy, weak and foreign,” he said. “Foreign objectification all comes down to hasty assumptions and inappropriate questions.”
When confronted with microaggessions, Lee says its important to address it and not let the moment pass. Ignoring it only allows the misconception to continue.
“If someone keeps asking questions and making comments that make you feel like they are treating you as a foreigner, it is helpful to know how to address this treatment rather than just accept it and thereby reinforce this person’s stereotype. But if there is a potential threat in the environment and its not safe, then it is important to know how to defuse the situation and step away. It also is important to know when to seek support from friends and family.”
You can learn more about how to deal with microaggressions and how to challenge your own assumptions in Mac Weekly.