BP#1 Microagressions

Today, the smaller day-to-day injustices that occur within our society seem to be getting more and more attention by the minute. In my opinion, the message of equality is extremely important. An epidemic in the form of microagressions fills our conversations, classrooms, and workplaces. These gestures include any subtle offensive actions, verbal or non-verbal. As explained in an article written by Stephanie Saul of the New York Times, microagressive behavior is a problem that colleges across the US are fighting to eliminate.
The University of Missouri recorded a decline in enrollment after last years “highly publicized episodes of racist taunts”. This is an example in which racism and microagressive behavior affects not only individuals, but an entire university. Although not every college around the country suffers drawbacks such as these, it is widely known that the same disruptive behavior can be observed on all campuses. Saul reports, however, that the push for change is prevalent as 75 colleges or universities have hired chief diversity officers in the past 18 months. Programs that affect campus life from freshman orientation to course material are being put in place to teach students and faculty about microaggressive behavior. As a college student, I think that these efforts are outstanding and that if we want to make a noticeable change then college campuses are a great host for it. Our generation needs to be more aware and socially conscious of the world around us.
There is, however, an opposing side to this article.
The Dean of the University of Chicago sent a letter to incoming freshman saying that they do not support the notion that “individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own”. I agree with this view as well because in order to grow as an intellectual and as a student you have to be challenged. In order to make change real and tangible, I think that raising awareness and creating programs is just as important as accepting the opposition and facing it head on.


One thought on “BP#1 Microagressions

  1. While I am all for sensitivity, being able to speak on controversial situations is what helps to get them solved. The major issue with that is that people don’t know how to have a simple debate anymore. A lot of people believe that the person that is the loudest is the winner. The one who can cut the other off the most is the one that is strongest. No one takes the time to listen to the other side, and then formulate an argument against if there is disagreement.

    Like the Dean that disagreed, you cannot run away from conflict, unless of course it is something life threatening and even then there are arguable scenarios. Being aware of the insensitivity of actions and words is perfect, but talking about why they are insensitive is better for helping people understand why they are insensitive in the first place. Think of it as raising a child. If you constantly threaten to whoop a child, but then never do, what does that lead the child to believe?

    I am not saying lash out at those that offend you, but educating them and actually listening to their side would help. Listen, and then try to persuade them to your understanding.


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