Having a friend who belongs to the said racial group though, I felt that it was demeaning.
As I recall now those episodes in high school, I realize that I was probably not just a witness then. Although I somehow felt that those microinsults were really demeaning, my passivity or inaction towards such incidents was probably reflective of my own distinct biases to people of color. It was clear that students who were clearly not Caucasians were being treated as second-class citizens. However, it was not just because they were of color that they were treated as such. Most of the African American students in high school did not come from well-off families. Their economic status was also a factor that contributed to the treatment.
I believe that passivity towards the issue then could be attributed to the fact that while I might not have been very particular about race, I held the belief that society is stratified on the basis of economic status and that such status quo should be maintained. Incidentally, most African Americans and other students of non-Caucasian lineage that I knew in high school were relatively not well-off compared to many of the whites. It was because of this concept that made me think that their being second-class citizens has made them vulnerable to microinsults. I was caught between my belief that they should expect such treatment as second-class citizens and my tendency to develop sympathy to their plight. Such sympathy, however, was also constrained with the idea that in stratified society, such treatment is only normal.
Not knowing how to react to over racism, I managed to make a stand that I now realize to be a case of microinvalidation. As I tried to make friends with fellow African American students, I actually introduced myself to them as being color-blind. Every time I meet African Americans whom I wanted to make friends with, I always try to insinuate that I do not mind about the color of one’s skin.