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What are some racial/gender/age based micro aggressions you’ve experienced in the workplace?

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I was at a call back interview. The head of a practice group and a respected partner in his field told me that I would be a great addition to the team because “you people” are investing so much in the USA. He meant there was an infusion of money from Chinese investors... I am not Chinese...nor does it make any difference in securities law to be Chinese.

He corrected himself when I couldn’t control my facial expression/shock that he would say this in an interview.

Got an offer. Ended up at a different firm though.

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*dead* no words

One time we went to a big group lunch with a few new staff. I sat down on the table, and a new staff didn’t want to sit next to me, stood there for a bit and wanted to see if other people would take the seat next to me, then reluctantly sat down. She clearly was only interested to talk to the people on her right side so I just talked to the people on my left. At some point during lunch, she’s finally realized that I was the highest ranking person on the table and would be the one paying for lunch, she then tried to participate in the conversation I was having with the people on my left.

It got me thinking, how many people I have met throughout my career have similar biases against me but were PC enough to not show it visibly. And how many opportunities I have missed because people don’t want to work with, talk to or sit next to me.

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I’ve seen this a number of times. People do tend to decide who is “important” in a group setting based on some internal rubric. We are social creatures after all. Some take it a step further and overtly shun those who they deem “not important.”

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I can share a few -

These are unpleasant memories...

my white female co-worker expressed absolute shock that my parents are married.

She was considering taking a similar role to mine and, as I was explaining the challenges in the role, she smirked and said “Well if YOU can do it, I know I can.”

She also tried to steal the flowers my husband sent me for V-day and my B-Day while he was deployed to Iraq. And - She remarked “HTF is he sending you flowers IF he is deployed?!”

She asked me where I got a designer handbag. When I told her I got it at the Quantico PX, she said - “OH - so you could afford it because it was dirt cheap!”

She tried to take credit for my marketing ideas and stated that people wouldn’t believe I came up with them.

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It feels good to unpack this. Thank you for supporting me everyone!

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I was on a call with three white guys, although I was the subject matter professional on the issue, two of the guys kept directing the questions to the third white guy, and the third white guy kept redirecting the questions to me. The two white guys basically never acknowledged my existence (a minority female).

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Common AF. Seen it and had it happen to me. Whew!

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Because I am Indian, people assume I must be an engineer/ technologist.

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That’s not funny. One week block.

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Colleague randomly starts talking to me about how slaves didn’t have it so bad.

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YES.

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Manager assumed I was the first one in my family to go to college. 😐 I’m actually third generation college graduate in my black American family.

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Also was surprised that my parents were married and that I “didn’t struggle financially” growing up.

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A superior once told me that they were surprised I spoke English without an accent.

I was born in the US and I’m fluent in two languages. I didn’t know I was supposed to speak with an accent.

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Different workplaces

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In my last start-up job, we were discussing a candidate who was interviewing for a role and a team member (male, mid-20’s) expressed concern that the candidate was « too old » to be able to pick up new skills on the job. He then said I was the only old person he’s ever worked with.
This would be unacceptable to say regarding someone at any age, but the candidate and I were in our mid-30’s.
I pushed back and one of the cofounders called this out as age discrimination, but I heard similar comments from other team members at future meetings. 😐 Surprise surprise I am no longer with this company.

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Wow

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I'm Indian. My white female co-worker asked my white senior manager if he'd go to a meeting with her cause "it's going to be a bunch of Indians"
Another time she talked for 20 mins about how offshore teams can't speak English and how did they get jobs etc.

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!!!

I work at a law firm. There's a very racist/misogynistic non equity partner there. He doesn't think he is because he's a Democrat. We were all having lunch (like six or eight of us). And he said, "If you want someone good at computers, hire an Indian. I said," Wow that's racist." obviously that didn't go over well. It was a very uncomfortable few days but totally worth it to call him out.

He once called me a paranoid female (um what?). Someone from a rural area asked about the safety of the metro. I'm also from a rural area now living in DC. So I said it wasn't bad - you just have to be vigilant and not do things like hold your phone loosely in your hand by the train door. Cue the paranoid female comment. I was a first year at the time so I didn't say anything.

He said it was hard to be a man right now with the me too movement. Again, at a table full of people at lunch. I said, "I mean, I've been walking around parking lots with keys laced through my fingers like a cat claw since I was sixteen, but please, go on." Again, it didn't go over well. But worth it.

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You’ll never get a job at a firm if you don’t straighten your hair for interviews. Curly hair looks so unprofessional 🙄

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Holy crap

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I got told to “focus on making a PowerPoint pretty” and that he “will do the real data analysis”
Constantly interrupted and said person stood my ideas and presented them as his own.

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Omg

My current project is basically me and one guy. And this guy thinks I'm stupid. Yesterday he told me a question I had about the process was completely irrelevant, then he turned around and asked our client contact the same question not even five minutes later. He's also fond of talking over me when I'm trying to explain something, saying that he can help me figure it out once he has an idea of what's going on. And he'll cut off my concise explanation just to arrive at the exact same conclusion 10 minutes later. On the bright side, I've found that he'll listen to my ideas if I lie and say that a male coworker came up with them 🙃

None of it feels bad enough to go to HR but it makes me want to scream

Bonus shout out to the coworker who told me that women should only be in video games and movies as eye candy and the client contact who would ignore and talk over me to the point I had to give ownership of the process to a man so he would actually listen

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OMG, you just described my life for the last six months since I got paired with this ED on a project. It’s like he is incapable of understanding logic and reasons. He never agrees to anything I say until I get another white male involved on the matter. Even with simple fact findings, he has a memory of a goldfish, but he would never take my words for facts that have already been discussed and confirmed, I constantly have to triple confirm the same facts over and over again just to get his agreement. I got so frustrated working with him, and then he went behind my back bad mouthing me to my boss.

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Fellow volunteer at a local community org with virtually all WM told me that if I “tried real hard,” I too could get an associates degree and land a GS 7 job plus buy a rambler like him. Even took me by his new rambler - a 2 bedroom 1 bath mansion.

At the time, I was a GS 14, with three degrees - including an MBA - and owned 2 large homes. Was using one as a rental property.

When I shared that I’d been in the GS system for over a decade (didn’t state my grade because I did not want anyone to know) and offered tips, he refused to listen to me.

Same organization- when I sent an email to the group (from my government email) to share about paid govt internships for college students, one of the members got angry, accused me of spamming, and said he would block my government email.

Another share: One of the young men randomly cornered me and told me that his father left his mom for. Black Woman. I am a Black woman.

Another share: A young WM was teaching me how to perform a function. When I got it right, he said “Gooood GIRL.”

There’s more but that’s all for now.

After about 24 months I told leadership I was done.

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Once few colleagues went out to a happy hour, 2 Indians, 1 black 2 Mexicans and an one guy(Don’t know his race) . We just started having drinks and ordered some appetizers. Once the appetizers came out on to table, the guy said “how do you guys like the food, any way this is not paneer butter masala that you guys eat all the time so you won’t like this” in a very sarcastic tone, me and my indian colleague were stunned by his audacity.

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Damn

I’m a second lieutenant, and the client is looking for a white hair man.

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Woah

This isn't specifically a microaggression but I'm filling out an online job application and it *requires* my high school graduation date. Not even college or grad school. High school. How is that even relevant? I graduated high school in 1990. I'm going to see if i can get away with all zeros but either way I'm going to assume I won't get a callback.

How is this even legal in the United States?

Maybe they need to be reported to the dept of labor and / or the eeoc

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