The Metamorphosis of Prejudice-Based Discourse: Change of Form, Continuity of Being
It has been argued that “old-fashioned” blatantly sexist or racist incivilities have shifted to more benign, nuanced, and veiled forms such as microaggressions and microinvalidations. This chapter argues that there has not been an evolutionary accommodation in aggression, invalidation, or incivility. Rather, the violence that lies at the heart of these behaviors has undergone a reconstruction—a metamorphosis—that results in different observable manifestations of violence, but which leaves the essential substance intact. It is argued that the altered boundaries and ever-present liminality, which are always associated with metamorphoses, have added to the ambiguities, doubt-filled contradictions, and significant harm experienced by both micro-abusers and their targets. As a metamorphosis, rather than as a linear shift, prejudice-based aggression may well continue to change its form and manifestation in the future, but not its substance.
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