Microaggressions against people of color in the workplace and elsewhere are consequential. They hurt those targeted and poison the social environment in which they occur. Nevertheless, in an article I read recently, the author ends up minimizing this dimension of the anti-racist struggle in the name of fighting structural racism. But this is, I believe, mistaken. We should see these two dimensions of the struggle against racism as organic, interactive, and connected – not as separate and distinct, with one being of less significance than the other.

To minimize in any way the struggle against microaggressions can only weaken the anti-racist struggle. Or to put it differently, an approach to fighting structural racism (sometimes legitimized in the language of class and universalism) that makes the individual invisible or a small insignificant cog in a larger struggle, does little to advance the cause of racial justice and freedom.