A new horror stalks the American university campus. It is the crime of microaggression. This is where by your mere existence you act in a discriminatory way to an ever expanding group of minorities who wallow in their own victimhood.
Here is an idiot’s guide to this trend, soon no doubt to make an appearance at a UK campus near you.
You really are much worse than you believe yourself to be. As much as you check your words and actions to keep them free from discrimination, they are bursting at the seams with this dreaded sickness. On most days, your rude behavior is in overdrive, and you fail to notice. To help make yourself more presentable to the delicate world of the regular college campus, here is an idiot’s guide to your sin of microaggression.
DON’T TALK TO OTHERS
Stop right there. You probably think that engaging others in discussion is normal procedure for daily life. But being part of the dominant, privileged side, you’d think that, wouldn’t you? Talking to others immediately opens up the door for a lurking “ism” to spring forth and attack. Before you know it, you’ll be establishing yourself as better than the other person is, and neither of you will know it.
Examples, because you need them:
“Where were you born?” actually sounds like “You are a foreigner.”
“You are so articulate.” actually sounds like “It is unusual for someone of your race to be intelligent.”
“Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.” actually sounds like “People of colour are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder.”
Are you disgusted with yourself yet? No, don’t answer. Just reflect. Actually, from now on try not to talk much at all.
PRIZE FEELINGS OVER FACTS
Facts don’t need to be present, so long as negative feelings exist. Discrimination is apparent in a group of people regardless of concrete evidence, as is clearly pointed out here:
The study found that women and minorities are made to feel like they do not belong on the campus — for example, that they only got in thanks to affirmative action. Anthony, an African-American senior at the Ivy university, said he notices “a slight raising of the eyebrows, or eyes following you in the dining hall.”
Students said they also notice that white male students are called on in class more often than other students.
Do you get it? The perception that racism exists is worse than if it actually exists in a given situation. Therefore, treat others with kid gloves, and cradle and soothe their ever-changing feelings to protect them from the potential horror that is their next mood swing. But don’t try to protect them too much, because that’s assuming they can’t handle things, and that is racist.
UNDERSTAND THE TERMINOLOGY OF YOUR BAD BEHAVIOUR
Before you can fully change your ways, here are the terms you need to familiarise yourself with:
- microassault = you’ve just assaulted someone with your discriminatory words/actions, and neither of you know it.
- microinsult = you’ve just insulted someone with your discriminatory words/actions, and neither of you know it.
- microinvalidation = you’ve just invalidated someone with your discriminatory words/actions, and neither of you know it.
I can only assume, because I should, that you are guilty of all these offences probably multiple times. Just today. Acknowledging that you are unaware of such slights toward others is microaggression itself. Subconsciously, you understand the truth that is present in others pointing out your transgressions. And no, don’t think that they could be guilty of discrimination towards you, because that would be absurd.
In conclusion, I only suggest that you try to improve everything about your interactions with the world. But knowing that you’re incapable of pointing out when you’ve unknowingly offended someone’s sensibilities doesn’t give me much hope that you’ll change. Just remember, the world is filled to the brim with microaggression, and you’re one of the chief aggressors. And that offends me.