This post is part of a blog parade on microaggression: https://shau-chung-shin-not-ching-chang-chong.com/blog-parade-microaggressions/ If you would like to read more of this type of posts check them out 🙂
Most of my experience is in Mauritius, a culturally diverse island in the Indian Ocean. The majority of Mauritians are Hindus, just like me, so the microaggression that I experienced was based on my appearance.
“4 Eyes” in High School
Life was pretty good in primary school. At that time in Mauritius you moved directly to High School after finishing primary school. Things changed when I turned 12. Just like my father, I was now experiencing nearsightedness and had to wear glasses. And this is when the comments/microaggression started.
Kids can be mean and I think teenagers are much meaner. There have many occasions where I was called “4 eyes” in high school. To be frank I never understood the logic. I think it’s annoying only the first few years and after a while you realize that most of the other teenagers also have some kind of nickname.
On the positive end of that stereotype for some reason people who met me for the first time thought that I was de facto smart and good at programming. (Both of which turned out to be true anyways 😎)
My Village Accent
This one is in my opinion slightly worse. Islanders, specially at that time, lived in their own bubbles. I have grown in what you would call a village and had picked up an accent. I would pronounce anything with É differently (It actually took me a while to understand that I was saying it differently).
*Side Note: We speak creole in Mauritius which is made up of French words mostly.
To help you understand what I mean, you could compare it with how French is spoken in Quebec. The microaggressions have caused me to try to correct them but there are still a few times when the accent comes out and I am made fun of.
I have barely experienced it here in Europe obviously as I meet far fewer Mauritians, which is refreshing.
Replying Back In English
I have been travelling more frequently in Europe and to a few French speaking countries. I am not sure whether this is categorized as Microaggression but a lot of times when I go to the supermarket and I speak French to the cashiers(they speak French to others), they reply to me in English and also do not ask me for loyalty cards and things like that. Actually this happens even in Luxembourg where I am currently residing (well double actually only in Delhaize, not in Auchan or Cactus).
Anyways I don’t mind it that much, must be hard for some of them to compute a brown guy speaking French.
I think stereotyping has a lot to do with microaggression.
All in all I don’t really mind microaggressions as much anymore and I don’t blame those who did it as well. If you are confused about what a microaggression is, I will leave you with this educational video from a South Park video game: