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Building Community Trust: Improving Cross-Cultural Communication in the Criminal Justice System. Unit 5: Micro-Messages. Prepared by. Session Objectives:. Define and identify micro-messages, micro-affirmations, and micro-inequities.

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unit 5 micro messages

Building Community Trust:Improving Cross-Cultural Communication

in the Criminal Justice System

Unit 5: Micro-Messages

Prepared by

session objectives
Session Objectives:
  • Define and identify micro-messages, micro-affirmations, and micro-inequities.
  • Demonstrate technique for converting micro-inequities into micro-affirmations.
  • Analyze impact of micro-inequities on office culture or community perceptions regarding the fairness, integrity and reliability of the criminal justice system.
micro messages
Small, sometimes unspoken, and often unconscious messages that are constantly sent and received. They can have a powerful impact on our interactions with others.



micro affirmations

Convey inclusion, respect, trust and genuine willingness to see others succeed.

May lead to a more productive and efficient work environment where all members feel valued and enjoy work.

for example
For example:

Manager greets every member of trial team in the morning by name.

Prosecutor greets victim by name at court hearing.

Defender greets client and client family members by name.

micro inequities

Micro-inequitiesare the ways in which individuals are either singled out, overlooked, ignored or otherwise discounted based on an unchangeable characteristic such as race or gender.

  • Usually take form in a slight difference of language, gesture, treatment or even tone of voice.
  • Are often subconsciously given but can have a huge impact on a work environment or social structure.
  • May lead to the perception of discrimination or harassment.
  • Are frequently unrecognized by perpetrator.
for example7
For example:

Rolling eyes or sighing when someone considered “different” is speaking.

Manager walks down hall and doesn’t acknowledge coworkers or subordinates.

Not paying attention in meetings when a certain person is sharing an idea.

for example8
For example:

Staff person (usually “of difference”) shares an idea and no one responds. Same idea is repeated by someone else and everyone acknowledges.

Exclusion of environmental factors that represent a certain group (e.g., decorations, literature, artwork).

for example9
Some individuals receive micro-affirmations but others do not.

Gesture of affection/ praise for one colleague but not another.

Supervisor chats frequently with one employee but not another.

Colleague invites some office mates to lunch but not others.

For example:
Affirmations can:

Boost morale

Create supportive, productive atmosphere



Erode self-esteem and ability to perform.

Create feelings of exclusion.

  • Intentionality
  • Infuse micro-affirmations into daily behavior
  • Role model
  • Practice