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Identifying and Preventing Microaggressions

Identifying and Preventing Microaggressions

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Identifying and Preventing Microaggressions

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  1. Identifying and Preventing Microaggressions Facilitators: Drs. Nancy Ares and Dena Phillips Swanson Session goals: to define microaggressions to discuss examples in identifying microaggressions to identify institutional practices to explore preventive strategies

  2. Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life Derald Wing Sue et al. (2007)

  3. Microaggressions • Brief, everyday exchanges that convey denigrating messages… • often unintentional and unconsciously delivered in the form of subtle snubs, dismissive looks, gestures and tones. • particularly salient in the context of relational dynamics and inherent in power dynamics which further complicate the impact.

  4. Microaggression Dilemma • Invisibility of Unintentional Bias • Race does not effect how you are treated or your opportunities for success • The most accurate assessment of a bias statement is from those disempowered rather than from those that enjoy the privilege of position or power

  5. Microaggression Dilemma • Perceived Minimal Harm • Those not affected consider them minor and encourage those affected to not waste time or effort on addressing them • The cumulative effects of microaggressions contribute to self-doubt, frustration, and isolation

  6. A Framing for Diversity • Considerations • Climate and intergroup relations • Access and success • Education • Institutional vitality • Context • Local (academic program/department) • Global (university level; school level)

  7. Critical Race Theory, Racial Micro-aggressions, and Campus Racial Climate: The Experiences of African American College Students Solórzano, Ceja, and Yosso (2000)

  8. Subtle, Covert “…one must not look for the gross and obvious. The subtle, cumulative mini-assault is the substance of today’s racism” (Pierce, 1974, p. 516)

  9. Linkages • Racial stereotypes • Cumulative racial micro-aggressions • Campus racial climate • Academic performance

  10. Four Questions • How do African American college students experience racial micro-aggressions? • What impact do these racial micro-aggressions have on African American students: • How do African American students respond to racial micro-aggressions • How do racial micro-aggressions affect the collegiate racial climate?

  11. Critical Race Theory • Race and racism are endemic to US society, as is intersectionality of forms of subordination • Centrality of non-dominant people and communities’ experiences • Commitment to social justice • Transdisciplinary perspective

  12. Micro-Aggressions in Classrooms • Feeling invisible • Experiences omitted,distorted, stereotyped • Faculty-student interactions: requiring retake of quiz • I was doing really well in the class…We took a first quiz…and I got like a 95…”We think you’ve cheated” …And I got a 98 on the exam • Self-doubt • So you don’t feel like, “Well maybe it isnt me” ‘cause you second-guess yourself…”Maybe I’m stupid! Maybe I don’t understand what’s going on

  13. Micro-Aggressions in Classrooms • Segregation in in-class groups • Personally diminished by White peers • Intense scrutiny leads to feeling drained • Assumptions about admissions (affirmative action) • A couple of our class discussions were about…affirmative action, and [the White] students…could not fathom that we earned our way in here • Assumptions about academic abilities • A lot of people don’t accept the fact that … I got a scholarship for academics. All my scholarships are in academics…not in sports

  14. Micro-Aggressions Outside Classrooms • Academic spaces (covert) • I was walking down the hallway…one of the teacher’s door was open…She’s like, “Oh, I should have locked the door. My purse is in there.” I was just, wow, maybe she should have kept that to herself • Last time we went to the library to study…it’s like…they’ve never seen Black people before in their lives, or they’ve never seen Black people study before

  15. Micro-Aggressions Outside Classrooms • Social spaces (overt) • With school events, it’s definitely racial. They [campus police] regulate and try to shut us down…make us leave through certain (back) doors • Playing football in a campus parking lot…all of a sudden there’s a total of four or five [police] cars all here for us who are not displaying any type of violence…we pleaded our case for at least a good 45 minutes..we had to leave

  16. Effects of Micro-Aggressions • Defensive stance • I have to be on my guard every time I go in to talk to a professor…an advisor…to anyone…are they really here to help me or to lead me down a path I don’t want? • “Spokesperson pressure” • You’re going to get called on, just because they want a Black perspective and you’re the only one

  17. Effects of Micro-Aggressions • Tiring • I was naïve, but now I’m cynical…I had to fight every day through all the racism I felt…when you try and voice something to somebody, they don’t want to hear it….I’m tired of it • Pushed to the point of exit • Got a B in physics before she came…took physics again…she did everything…went to the chancellor [who] asked whether or not she was on financial aid..she’s transferring to Howard

  18. Counter-Spaces as Response • Daily barrage of micro-aggressions in and outside of class • Deficit notions of people of color challenged • Source of support • I chose to live on the African American theme floor…if I don’t have the support then that can be very discouraging • I just feel more comfortable dealing with African Americans…look for the first African American face because…they’re going to be more sympathetic

  19. Challenges to … • College as equal, colorblind, race-neutral • Ignoring, downplaying threats, assaults in the form of micro-aggressions • Such incidents, experiences as innocuous The affect is cumulative