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Comm 1008 Communications

Microaggressions are a part of interpersonal communication, but all too often we fail to notice them, ignore them, or otherwise repress our responses, building unresolved tensions. “Micro” means small and “aggression” involves hostile actions or attitudes. Microaggressions are often present in defensive climates, and in order to help cultivate supportive climates we need to learn how to recognize, and address, these important elements of interpersonal communication. For example, let’s look at the statements “You are fit for a man of your age” and “You are beautiful for a woman of your age.” On one level, both are compliments. However, the words “of your age” qualifies, and effectively reduces or even contradicts, the compliment. The emphasis on age in this example introduces an element of prejudice or bias that can be interpreted as a microaggression. Many microaggressions are nonverbal and may be hard to spot at first. In order to help you learn how to identify, and respond to, microaggressions, watch this video:


Laureate Education (Producer). (2016). Is it a microaggression? [Interactive media]. Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved from

The first step to reverse a defensive climate is to identify the elements that make it defensive. Then it is important to consider how to model the behavior you want to observe in the supportive climate. Finally, learning to address microaggressions in the moment, recognizing someone might not even be aware of their prejudice or bias, is an important part of effective interpersonal communication. Conflict is often an element in our interactions, and it is how we handle it that sets us apart as competent communicators.

To prepare for this Assignment:

Read the Communication Program Professional Writing Guidelines.
Read “Chapter 6, Section 3: Emotions and Interpersonal Communication.”
Read “Chapter 7: Communication in Relationships.”
Review the 11 scenarios provided in the link to the Laureate media video on aggression.
Analyze your own experiences or those you have observed with microaggressions. Choose one to write about in your Assignment.
Write a 1- to 2-page paper that answers the following:

Describe the communication climate between the two people at the time of the interaction. What are some factors that were present?
Describe the specific interaction, including who were the participants, what was said or expressed, where it took place, when did it occur, and, in your estimation, why did it happen and how was it resolved?
What changes to the communication could have improved the interaction, and why?
What are some tips you would give to help avoid these types of scenarios in the future?

Sample Solution

corporation, with the power hierarchy supporting an isolating and competitive environment. Within this setting, it is not just an individual who is guilty; sometimes, the entire corporation is at fault. But, since we cannot imprison a corporation, general control penalties do not apply to white collar crime (Gottschalk, 2016). The obedience to authority and the multi-faceted issue of all the different players makes white collar crime a very convoluted topic in the criminal justice system. Dealing with these crimes in the justice system is therefore just as ambiguous as theorizing and conceptualizing. However, some notable contributions have been made in the 20th century, including the expansion of federal criminal law and reach of federal fraud statutes (Anello & Glaser, 2016). The Second Circuit has contributed to the development of white collar jurisprudence over the last century, finally allowing for national conversations, court decisions, law, practice, procedure, and punishment of white collar crimes (Anello & Glaser, 2016). Contributions from empirical research have also led to the creation of white collar crime units, as well as more grant money and publicly available systemic data for in-depth research (Reurink, 2016). Finally, criminological contributions have brought about discussion of the separation between individual and group rights (Michalowski, 1979; Reurink, 2016). For white collar offenders, this could make prosecutions and conceptualization much clearer, leading to better research and outcomes to tackle this problem. Conclusion No crime exists until someone in power says that something is a crime. With regards to labeling and white collar crimes, the law is selective. Criminal law targets selectively and unequally, promoting and protecting white collar crimes and disproportionally criminalizing and stigmatizing drug offenses and other crimes by ordinary citizens (Carrington & Hogg, 2002). The capitalist system tends to favor the privileged and demonize the oppressed. Contributions to both criminology and criminal justice are promising, showing a revitalized interest in labeling theory and crimes of the powerful. Critical criminology has opened the door for national dialogue and deeper analysis into the causes and consequences of crimes within these power structures. Further empirical research is needed on both topics to continue the discussion and find some solutions to these power imbalances in the criminal justice system.

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