College campuses serve many purposes, including the creation and maintenance of multicultural and brave spaces for action and dialogue around social justice. Unfortunately, incidents such as the ones that occurred at Yale University, and the University of Missouri disrupt that idea. In response to these growing social justice issues, the Residence Halls Association (RHA) has launched its Microaggression Macroimpact campaign.

This website is a resource for you and your organizations to get information on the impact microaggressions have, as well as on campaign events and other campus resources. Together we can work together to create more inclusive and aware campus. We look forward to working with you all!

Thank you,
Residence Halls Association

Our Goal

The primarily student-run initiative will focus to educate the campus community on microaggressions, and encourage our fellow Spartans to create events, discussions, and initiatives on the impact our words have on one another. The photo campaign will highlight the faces and stories of students who deal with exclusion and prejudice on a daily basis. Other aspects also include events, speakers, diversity training, and student led committees.

Why Microaggressions

Our voices often go unheard and our experiences are devalued, this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours.

Students, staff, and faculty will come together to raise awareness of the impact of language on people at Michigan State through a series of photoshoots. All of us use words that can harm or alienate others. This occurs in classrooms, residence halls, student organizations, and social gatherings. While the intent may not be to do harm to another person, the impact adds up.
Take the time to understand the power of your words. What do your statements really say? What about statements such as these:

“That’s so gay”
“You’re pretty for a black girl”
“You’re dumb for an Asian”
“I always wanted a gay sassy friend”
“This building looks ghetto”

These statements intend to be compliments but can work against building a just campus environment and perpetuate violence against people of color, women, queer and transgender people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized communities.

Microaggressions Defined

Microaggressions are everyday encounters of subtle discrimination that people of various marginalized groups experience throughout their lives.


  • Microassault: explicit bias and intended harm at someone to make them feel unwelcomed
  • Microinvalidation: implicit bias and unintended harm to someone
  • Microinsult: implicit bias and unintended subtle harm at someone to make them feel unwelcomed


  • Verbal: examples include face to face dialogue
  • Nonverbal/behavioral: examples include intentionally or unintentionally avoiding others
  • Environmental: examples include yikyak or a classroom

Microaggression manifestations can be from enduring institutional and systemic, imbalances of privilege and power, an often committed unknowingly by well-intended people.

Subtle, stunning, often automatic, and nonverbal exchanges which are ‘put downs’ of people of color by offenders, often automatically or unconsciously or unintended.

Microaggressions can occur to someone with more than one marginalized identity; one can be simultaneously be privileged or oppressed

Mental Health Effects

Many say that “you’re making a big deal out of nothing”, but it is a big deal and it goes deeper than just words. Victims of microaggressions often feel unsafe and not included. It causes significant long-term harm. Victims are affected physically, mentally, emotionally, and behaviorally.

Microaggressions can contribute to serious anxiety and depression to victims. It’s not good for the perpetrators either, causing guilt, anxiety, and depression to those labeled as bullies and someone who is acknowledging the problem.

Additional Articles:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/microaggressions-matter/406090/?utm_source=SFFB http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/03/how-racism-is-bad-for-our-bodies/273911/ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/microaggressions-in-everyday-life/201010/racial-microaggressions-in-everyday-life http://psychologybenefits.org/2013/07/31/is-it-you-or-is-it-racist-the-insidious-impact-of-microaggressions-on-mental-health/

Taking Action

The first step in taking action against injustice in your communities is to increase your awareness of the issue. If there is a topic that you are not familiar with then ask questions, learn, and engage others in conversation. The first step to acknowledging there is a problem is by understanding the history and impact of language. This is important to creating a brave and just campus. Change starts with you. Check your language and the environment around you. How often are you using terms (intentionally or unintentionally) that could be harmful or triggering to people of marginalized identities? Ask yourself how often you encounter people that use the same language either in face to face conversations, social media, residence halls, and class rooms. What can you do to help?

Action Steps:

  • Acknowledge that there is a problem
  • Check yourself and your environment
  • Talk to others about issues facing your community and the power of words
  • When people use harmful language, ask them to clarify what they mean or define the word: “What do you mean by _____?”
  • Ask the person to use a different word: “Instead of saying _____ say _______.”
  • Share our website, resources, hashtag, etc. on social media to spread the word

Reporting Biased Incidents:


What helps Diminish Implicit Bias

  • Understanding how the process operates
  • Insight into areas of potential personal bias
  • Attention to situations likely to “trigger” unintended bias
  • Frequent engagement with “others” in joint efforts
  • Bystander interventions

B.A.R. Method

Remember this method the next time you're in a hostile situation, it will help with conflict resolution.

    B: Breathe when you get into stressful situations.
    A: Acknowledge what the other person is saying.
    R: Respond to the other person.


RHA: http://rha.msu.edu/
LGBT Resource Center: http://lbgtrc.msu.edu/
Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities: https://www.rcpd.msu.edu/
Women’s Resource Center: http://wrc.msu.edu/
Office of Cultural Initiatives (OCAT): http://ocat.msu.edu/
Project 60/50: http://project6050.msu.edu/
CORES & COPS: https://www.facebook.com/MSUCORESCOPS/?fref=ts