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Singleton, K. (2013). Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation, by Derald Wing Sue, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010, 352 pp., $45.00 (cloth). Psychoanal. Psychol., 30(4):680-685.
(2013). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30(4):680-685
Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation, by Derald Wing Sue, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010, 352 pp., $45.00 (cloth)
Review by: Karen Singleton, Ph.D.
“One of the greatest challenges facing mental health practitioners,” Sue asserts, “is how to become culturally competent in delivering mental health services to people of color, women, LGBTs [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons] and other marginalized groups such as those with disabilities, religious minorities and immigrants/refugees” (p. 276).
In Microaggressions in Everyday Life, Sue valiantly takes up this challenge and provides us with a guide to better understand and address these crucial concerns. He is able to speak to myriad forms of oppression through an examination of everyday microaggressive acts, behaviors that consist of brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults (Sue et al., 2007). Central to the concept of microaggressions is the fact that they can be unintentional and often exist outside of the conscious awareness of the initiator. It is the unmetabolized nature of such acts, rooted in racism, heterosexism, prejudice, assumptions, and stereotypes, that contributes to pain and injury in relationships, both therapeutic and otherwise. This is a topic of great benefit to psychoanalysis, as the emotional toll of such events is severe (Altman, 2010; Utsey, Giesbrecht, Hook, & Stanard 2008; Vaughans & Spielberg, in press) and has yet to be fully and consistently explored in our literature.
To understand racism means to realize that our prejudices, stereotypes and biases exist on a continuum of conscious awareness.
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