Campus event commentary, “Microaggression panel”, Nikolaos Paramythiotis

Microaggression is, as Eleni Tsitinidi ’21 accurately described it, these “mosquito bites” one feels after he or she hears the same comment about their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical characteristics, etc. for the millionth time. In contrast to racist comments, that are widely recognized as such and their intention is to harm, comments characterized of microaggression do not intend to be harmful. To most people not in the position of the person these words address, they are considered acceptable, therefore, they are easily dismissed on their own. However, the problem with instances of microaggression is that behind them lies a larger social message that is offensive itself. When a student of color is complemented on the fact he or she is “very articulate”, the words they face are not harmful, but the message they hide behind them implies that they are the exception. Therefore, the main problem with microaggression is that it focuses on and stresses the differences of the body, almost dismissing the personality and the humanity of the individual. There is only one way to prevent it, to just think more and have empathy. The fact that something is not wrong to do or say, does not mean that one should go on to do or say it, if it is going to negatively influence another person. It is that simple.

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