Guest Post: Tales from the “other”

I’m beginning to think microaggressions could be more damaging psychologically than outright aggressions. They pick and pick and pick, shredding your self-esteem, instilling thoughts being not good enough. It takes energy to constantly battle micro aggressions, and some days there is no energy left to fight.

“Early on feelings of “otherness” began and have resurfaced periodically since my first year in the [PhD] program. I fight with all my self-esteem to keep them at bay and to pack away the subtle microagressions I encounter. I move forward by focusing on my goals and using self-affirmations to get me through the inevitable next set of “other” remarks. I have acquired these coping strategies to survive in an environment that sometimes does not feel ready for me. Such coping mechanisms also keep me guarded and distant from those whose “other” remarks have attempted to damage my spirit whether consciously or not. But eventually, each new encounter adds a little more weight to my load, making it too heavy and I succumb, self doubt creeping in.”

Tenure, She Wrote

Today’s guest blogger NotYourOther is a doctoral candidate at a large public university in the Midwest.


As a multiracial woman I have always been an “other”. From childhood on I have struggled with what box to check to identify my racial heritage. Then there was that ever annoying “other” option that further disenfranchised my developing racial identity. My racial ambiguity was never really an issue for me, but always seemed to perplex others, particularly my peers, who often asked the dreaded “so what are you?” question. It seemed as I moved into adulthood and started my career the focus on my race was slightly diminished. I consciously chose to work in agencies where people of color were not always the minority [in number] and my brown skin did not indicate an “otherness”. I contently existed in this fabricated environment for several years until I decided to return to school and…

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