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Scripts and Prompts for Inspiration

  • Prompts to get you thinking and role playing about how you will respond in situations where microaggressions occur.
  • This list is not exhaustive, and by nature will not have the perfect response for every situation.
  • Take caution against silencing yourself because something doesn’t perfectly fit the situation.


  • What did you mean by that?
  • What you’re saying/doing is offensive
  • Did I hear what you said correctly?
  • Compared to whom?
  • Yikes!
  • Ouch!
  • Not cool
  • We don’t talk like that here
  • Yikes, that's a very racist comment
  • Why is that funny? Can you explain it to me?
  • When you are the one who used microaggressive behavior: "Oops! That came out badly. Allow me to rephrase that."


Longer Dialogues

Engage with people when the microaggression occurs. Force them to articulate what they often don't want to articulate, perhaps because it reveals bias.

  • Mirror their words
    • “You’re really smart for being a woman.” - “I’m really smart for being a woman?”
  • What do you mean by "they don't seem like a good fit"? Tell me more.  
  • I want to offer you some feedback if you're open to it
  • That didn't land the way it was intended
  • Can we talk about how to do that differently in the future?
  • If you’re willing we can have a conversation about why that is actually a microaggression as opposed to a compliment which is how I think you meant it?
  • Can you help me understand your perspective?
    • Then follow up with an "I" statement
  • Comment on the reaction in the room
  • Hmmm… [repeat the statement]... what do you mean?
  • Depending on what is said it may be worth letting them know that they are creating a hostile work environment by talking or acting the way they are


Allow the comment to hang in the air while you stare at them can be effective in certain contexts. Sometimes that is all someone needs to realize they have been inappropriate.