Skylar McVicar Campus Event Reflection: Microaggression Panel

During the student-run microaggressions panel on 9/25/19 about the presence of microaggression on and off Davidson’s campus, five students of different ethnicities discussed the definition and effects of subtle, mostly unrecognizable acts of racism commonplace in everyday society. These students describes a microaggression as a statement not often intended to be harmful and as gaining power from its cumulative effect. For example, people repeatedly asking a peer where her accent is from is not an innately biased question, but it subliminally tells the peer that she is seen and recognized as a foreigner who may need help to understand the majority’s language and culture. After receiving this question once, she may be stung and annoyed, but receiving and answering this question multiple times becomes an attack on her existence and purpose. Microaggressions often stem from stereotypes and ignorance of the truth. The student panelists taught the audience how to spot a microaggression and encouraged attendees to respond in a constructive way. Since the panel, I have noticed more microaggressions in places I would not expect. For example, every time my sociology professor asks a question about Korea, he directs it at Korean students in the class, even though most of the students were born and raised in America. If minorities constantly have to explain themselves, their productive energy is wasted. As a community, we should encourage introspection about our own microaggressions and encourage others to do the same to create a more inclusive and accepting campus and society.

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