Here’s a fun one for you. The New School in New York City has published a guide to microaggressions on their website. It is a wonderful way for young leftists to learn new and creative ways to be offended.
This guide teaches aspiring social justice warriors how to recognize a microaggression, respond to one, and throw wild adolescent tantrums if they experience such offense. For the students attending classes at The New School, this guide can serve as a social justice bible on which they can rely while navigating the ever-present world of racism, sexism, homophobia, and all the other isms and phobias. For starters, let’s see how the guide defines microaggressions.
For those of you who have a life, it might be necessary to educate you on the word “microaggression.” According to the New School:
Microaggression shows up as brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or not, that communicate a hostile, derogatory, or negative slight or insult toward a targeted group.
In real life, a microaggression could be an unintentional social misstep. In other cases, it would be better defined by what ordinary people would call “being a jerk.” But how do you know a microaggression when you see one? For that, we can look at some examples.
The New School’s guide lists a few different types of and examples: How helpful.
First, there is the microinsult which is typically done unconsciously. An example would be a man telling a woman that she “throws well for a girl.” I know what you’re thinking, “but most women can’t throw as well as most men.” Let me explain: in the world of social justice warriors – which exists in a separate dimension where Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election – women and men are the same, which means that women can do everything men can do and vice versa. There are no differences between the male and female sex. Oddly, while men and women are the same, a person can still switch genders at will – which seemingly contradicts the idea that both sexes are identical. To us average folks, this seems abnormal – but that is because we are nothing more than science-denying bigots.
The second type is the microassault, which is a direct and intentional insult. The New School gives the example of “Cat calling a woman, being ignored, and then saying that she’s so ugly that no one would want her anyway.” In the real world, this falls under the “being a jerk” category. While social justice warriors believe conservatives are insensitive and uncaring, the reality is that most people of any political persuasion would criticize this type of behavior.
Next, is the microinvalidation. These are comments that “exclude, negate, or nullify the thoughts, feelings or experiential realities of the victim.” Note that this definition includes one of the most hallowed words in the social justice world: “victim.” An example would be telling an Asian that he is smart because of his race. In the real world, we would classify this as a silly and uninformed comment.
My favorite example of a microaggression given by the guide is “Feeling tokenized in classrooms when specific subject matters are raised (i.e., the one Black student is expected to speak for all Black people)” It’s my favorite because I have experienced this one myself. I take great pleasure in this. Why? Because when I’m the only black person in the room, and people look to me for the black perspective, I can simply make up any nonsense that I please, and they’ll believe it. It’s hilarious.
All kidding aside, being “tokenized” is not offensive to all black people. The reality is that if an issue related to the black community is being discussed, it makes sense that people who aren’t black are going to ask me about it. It has nothing to do with racism.
According to the The New School, microaggressions can cause great harm:
At the individual level, microaggression perpetuates stereotype threat, lowers work productivity and problem-solving abilities, and assails the mental and physical health of the targets.
Stress, anxiety, harmful coping mechanisms, (sustained) cortisol, susceptibility to disease, possible alteration of genes (can be passed on through childbirth), disengagement with social structures, isolation, mental health, physical health.
The guide implies that even dealing with one instance of “dismissive or demeaning behavior” can cause low self-confidence and fear. They also indicate that the proliferation of microaggressions can contribute to a “hostile society.”
When advising students on how to respond to a microaggression, the guide has several suggestions. One piece of advice is to address it directly with the person who committed the transgression. In some situations, this might make sense. If someone offends you, there is nothing wrong with addressing it with them in a respectful way. Unfortunately, the guide also has a recommendation that is not so sensible. Big surprize.
The guide also encourages students to report other students who commit microaggressions because they are “acts of bias and discrimination” and violations of the school policy and possibly the Student Code of Conduct. The problem is that the guide doesn’t outline what type of microaggression constitutes an act of bias or discrimination. It’s possible that they are referring to only to legitimate examples of discriminatory behavior. One can only hope.
The social justice movement has taken an issue that has a modicum of merit and created a culture of victimhood. There is a marked difference between small, unintentional slights and overt discrimination. As a minority, I have experienced both, and most microaggressions can be easily shrugged off, or discussed with the person who made the offending comment.
The danger is that the left is teaching students to react to a small slight in the same way they might react to a real act of racism – which only contributes to racial tension. Not only that, it doesn’t help students learn how to cope with hearing points of view or phrases with which they do not agree. By emphasizing victimhood and being perpetually offended, they are not helping the students – they are impeding their growth and development.