Laura Morgan Roberts coaches Black workers on how to handle microaggressions

July 23, 2020

Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) faculty affiliate Laura Morgan Roberts co-authors the Harvard Business Review article “When and How to Respond to Microaggressions.”

Laura Morgan Roberts

The article offers Black employees and managers advice on how to handle workplace microaggressions – defined as “incidents in which someone accidentally (or purposely) makes an offensive statement or asks an insensitive question.”

Roberts and fellow researchers Ella F. Washington and Alison Hall Birch recommend three approaches: Let it go, respond immediately, or respond later. They also offer a framework for determining which strategy to employ in any given situation.

“Black people, as well as those with various other marginalized and intersectional identities, are already subject to biased expectations and evaluations in the workplace,” the researchers write. “Life is sufficiently taxing without allowing microaggressions to bring you down. Let protecting your joy be your greatest and most persistent act of resistance.”