Campus Event – Micro Aggression panel 9/25/19

On Wednesday I went to a panel hosted by common ground, a group dedicated to bridging identities and working on making campus more socially aware. The panel was comprised of 6 students, and they answered questions about microaggressions at Davidson. A microaggression is action or speech that is posed as a compliment, insult or statement that is harmful to a member of a marginalized community. One of the panelists used mosquito bites as a metaphor for the harmful cumulative effect that microaggressions have. If one mosquito bites you, it is annoying but only temporarily. If a swarm mosquitoes continue to bite you one after another it becomes impossible to ignore and leaves you covered in bites. This was very powerful, and served as an important reminder that it is easy for one person to be careful not to say microaggressive things, and it requires lots of emotional labor to constantly be on the other end of microaggressions. Another big takeaway I got from this panel is the notion that positive intent does not always equate with positive effect. Someone may pose something as a compliment, and it can still be a microaggression. This is an important reminder that not meaning something is harmful does not make it less harmful.

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