Monday, December 14, 2015


Yesterday the Merriam-Webster website listed "microaggression" as one of its "Words We're Watching." M-W cited it as "subtle comments that are demeaning to a marginalized group." I, however, came at it from another angle, though I had never heard the word or seen it in print before this website happenstance. I see microaggression as a more precise, yet alternative, term for "passive-aggressive," an oft-used coupling in modern American parlance. It seems to me that microaggression fills a void. We needed a term for something active, not passive, though not cogently belligerent. It's a way to describe the coded reference, the positioned object, the provocative phrase or look, an altered pattern, a throat-clearing, dirty dish (or clean), unanswered prompt or prompted halt, the shredded receipt, the untied lace, the dirty laundry.

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