power, privilege, and everyday life.

Have a question/comment/similar experience to share? Email us or fill out our contribution form.

Note: The comments section provides a space for people to LEARN from one another.




Find us on...

Every time someone uses the word “psychotic” to mean some variation of “evil, sadistic murder”. This is not what this word means, and every single supposedly insignificant use of this word in a derogatory manner contributes to the massive stigma that I, as a mentally ill person who has been diagnosed with psychosis (amongst other things), has to live with. This is the reason that I lie to friends, classmates and teachers if they see me picking up a prescription. Even when I tell people I am mentally ill I have a tenancy to only mention my other diagnoses, because the stigma surrounding the word “psychotic” is so great that people believe I must be joking in applying it to myself.  Makes me feel like I have to continue lying even though I desperately need support and understanding because I don’t want people to be afraid of me.

My parents worked for all their money. My family planned ahead for me to attend post secondary.

I hear these kind of defensive statements all the time from upper middle class students whenever I sound even slightly exasperated explaining to them that no, my mother does not have any money to pay for my education and I have to cover it entirely with loans and scholarships whereas they have told me that their parents are giving them all the money they need.

Makes me feel angry, because my mother is the hardest working person I know. She had to work so hard just to survive on welfare as a single mother, and even harder to eventually find any emploment at all. She still lives below the poverty line. When people insinuate that my family somehow didn’t try hard enough to provide for me I wish I there was some way I could force them to understand that for some people no matter how hard we work, there will never be anything left over to save.

I’m a Customer Service Agent for Amazon.com in a foreign site. Many customers ask for an Agent in the United States the moment they hear my voice.

I’m a mixed race girl (Nigerian & English) who has just finished transitioning from a relaxer to natural hair. I’m sat with my Caucasian friend and Black friend at lunch talking about having children when the Caucasian girl announces: “well my children will be some sort of mixed race, we’ve already established that. But i don’t want them to have that really curly hair. No. None of that.” I’m angry that she would think it’s acceptable to reject and act disgusted at a feature that her friend has!! Also disappointed as she acts as if she wants her children to have brown skin but no other features associated with being black.

Lol, Asian gay guys are too girly, I suppose.

I’m at my campus bar and a male student starts chatting me up. I casually disclose that I am queer and have a girlfriend. Later that night, as he is leaving, he takes my hand, looks deep into my eyes and says, “Just so you know. I don’t believe that you’re gay. You’re too girlie and pretty.”

What hurts the most is that he thinks this is a compliment; as if the only reason I’m not with men is because I don’t think I’m ‘pretty’ enough for them. Another typical conflation of gender presentation and sexual orientation.

When standing next to my mom -“I didn’t know you were adopted.”

Happens twice as often now that she’s married to my step-dad, who is also white.

At work in an all-male work environment. Get called up to the front. There’s cupcakes hidden on top of a cabinet and they think I can’t get it down. I pull it down and open it up to get a cupcake, excited because I overslept and skipped breakfast earlier that day. One of my much older superiors says, “Can’t keep a woman away from her chocolate.” I eat the cupcake anyways, but spend the time feeling alienated.

But you don’t look Jewish!

Yes, I am a very Scandinavian looking woman.  I’m also Jewish. 

I walked into my optometrist office to pick-up an order of contact lenses. Unexpectedly the doctor takes me back and asks me to try on a pair of hard lenses to see if I liked them. I thought this was strange since I wear soft lenses. Then she said, “How does that feel Muhammad?” I’m Filipino and White, not Middle Eastern in any sense. We looked at each other awkwardly as I responded, “They feel weird, also my name is Stanley.”

I was planning to go to a Halloween/costume party with my four other girl friends, who happen to be all white. (We live in a small Canadian university town… not very diverse, it’s bound to happen.)

We wanted to go as the Spice Girls, I wanted to be Posh Spice. But no, the decision was already made for me: “You have to be Scary-Spice… she’s the only ethnic one.” I am half Chinese and half Italian.

While in a hotel restroom at a teacher conference, a middle aged lady came up to me and said “HI” in Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean, then asked, “Did I get any of those right? Are you one of those?”

When I responded that there are many other Asian countries out there with different languages, she proceeded to gush that “It’s so nice to see one of you people not working in a nail salon and speak good English.” I told her I spoke English well, and it’s a damn shame the future generation has to learn from people like her.

I’m a PhD candidate, 25, and the only woman in my lab. Today, during lab meeting, my professor is discussing a collaborator. He’s describing what a great time he had visiting this collaborator’s lab, and suddenly stops. He says, “He’s very funny, but it’s not appropriate for me to talk about it in front of Hannah.”

This type of comment is commonplace in my office. Makes me feel ashamed, excluded, frustrated.

In case you missed it, our project was covered a few days ago in this New York Times piece on microaggressions awareness projects on university campuses. Check it out and participate in the dialogue following the piece on our Twitter and Facebook. (We still got love for you, Tumblr!)

Loading posts...