Elizabeth Vair Microaggressions Campus Event Commentary

The microaggressions panel examined the everyday subtle but negative interactions minority students and people face. While these microaggressions may not be harmful or appear to be a large enough problem to cause worry, their presence progresses negative connotations and stereotypes. When these microaggressions continue unchecked, they give the majority power to either intentionally or unintentionally marginalize the minority without consequences. The panel continually brought up the harm by unintentional actions. Often, microaggressions are unintentional, and when someone confronts the aggressor over the microaggression, it can be difficult for the aggressor to accept that they caused harm without meaning to or interpret the harmed as overreacting. The problem also arises when people in a position of power fail to address their microaggressions, thus furthering a cycle of them. As a white-passing Hispanic, I have only received microaggressions on my gender, not my race and I acknowledge that this is a privilege.  In the panel, it was mentioned that microaggressions often are more prevalent in places where people move to high diversity areas such as college campuses – where individuals may have not previously been exposed to such diversity. Being from Miami, I have always been surrounded by diversity, yet I have noticed an increase in microaggressive acts towards my fellow students here at Davidson. I feel as though many students here have not been in as diverse environments as the campus, and even though campus – and the town as a whole – is significantly less diverse than my home city, I believe the microaggressions are more prominent as individuals adapt to being in diverse environments.

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