Micro-aggressions look like this when you have a facial difference:
Being seated at the back of a restaurant, facing the wall, so you don’t scare other diners. (I sat facing the diners in defiance.)
We deserve to be seen, we deserve not to be hidden away.
In more inclusive news, two people stopped me to chat about my work on You Can’t Ask That and The Cook Up while I was in Sydney; and lots of people chatted to me at the Darren Hayes concert 💗
Back to the micro-aggression –
Of course the motives of these incidences are hard to prove, hard to call out, and even harder to spot if you haven’t got a facial difference. If I raised it with the person who excluded me, I’m sure they’d react defensively, denying it.
I talked to a friend about it, a friend who has a facial difference. They recognised it immediately. The cumulative impact of micro-aggressions is exhausting, and can interrupt a great time. Of course, out of all the brilliant interactions I had on Tuesday, I’m thinking of this.
Anyway, if you work in customer service; if you prioritise customers with beauty privilege; if you think people like me will detract from the image of your store or restaurant – check your bias. Why is it that you’re deprioritising people with facial differences and disabled people?
Fortunately, in recent years, I have encountered this type of micro-aggression less. I supposed it’s because of my public profile, and I’m thankful and relieved that mine and others’ advocacy has helped make attitudes and behaviours more inclusive. But I still experience it.
I measure ableism by the way I (and other disabled people) are treated compared to the customers before and after me. If they are looked at, spoken to and offered service, and I am not offered that same service, it’s ableism.
It’s not hard to be inclusive and show respect.
When I talk about experiencing micro-aggressions like these, the reactions are often “maybe you’re over-reacting” or “you’re overthinking it” or “they were probably having a bad day”. If you’re playing devil’s advocate by disbelieving what happens, check your bias too.
Image: a plate of food at a seafood restaurant. The plate is black, there are mussels, oysters, a prawn, octopus and smoked salmon.
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