If you’re even the slightest bit familiar with The New School in Manhattan, you won’t be surprised to see them on the vanguard of progressive thought – a phrase that can easily be swapped out with “widespread mental illness.” Nonetheless, we had to shake our heads extra vigorously after reading their handy guide for incoming students on the subject of the dreaded microaggression. If you’re not familiar with this trendy new way to get offended in your everyday life, let’s let The New School initiate you:
“You’re so smart for a Black girl.”
“Why is he so fat?”
“All-gender bathrooms are so stupid.”
Even experiences that are not intentionally hostile or physically threatening can be harmful. It is critical for us as a university community that we acknowledge and work to decrease these kinds of hurtful experiences. Many times, they are experienced as microaggression, which occurs in the context of the larger culture of oppression regarding race, gender, ability, immigration status, size, sexual orientation, and other identities, and is a result of power and privilege of a dominant group over a subordinated group. Symptoms of larger societal issues like prejudice and bigotry are not always overt or intentional. Microaggression is powerful and insidious and can be as damaging as “explicit” aggression.
Yes, a microaggression is basically: A white, straight male saying something that you disagree with. Well, even that is putting too fine a point on it. Really, it’s virtually anything that happens to “trigger” you in the slightest, provided you fall into one or more of the left’s real or invented minority categories. And this is where the New School’s examples are really quite entertaining. Or at least, they would be, if we didn’t know that they were absolutely dead serious about this stuff. So let’s dive in to some of these examples:
“A look of amazement or disgust at a gender-non-conforming couple in public.”
Basic human nature is a Microaggression!
“Being forced to use the complicated industrial elevator and take an extra ten minutes to arrive in class, because you are disabled and use a motorized wheelchair.”
The realities of society come home to roost as Microaggressions!
“The majority of readings on all your class syllabi feature only readings from white cisgender men.”
Your economics professor forgot to include the monumental canon of literature from transgender black women? Microaggression!
“Monuments, artwork, or portraiture in public spaces that are predominantly (often exclusively) white cisgender men and women.”
Tear down that portrait of George Washington and replace it with a painting of Chelsea Manning or you’ll be guilty of a Microaggression!
“You’re pretty cute, for a Mexican.”
We’re pretty sure no one has ever uttered this phrase, but if you do, it’ll be a Microaggression!
“Being called ‘overly sensitive’ when addressing a microaggression.”
Haha, gotta love this hilarious way of shutting down debate.
And our favorite:
“Seats in the classroom / auditorium / office are too small for many people.”
According to The New School, “one of the most insidious features of microaggression is that sometimes it is hard to confront because it can be so subtle or happen so commonly without being addressed.” In other words, you may not instantly recognize a microaggression because, well, it’s just a part of living in a group with other people who have their own opinions. But rest assured, once you go home and dwell on it and talk to your SJW friends on Twitter, you’ll ultimately realize that you should have been outraged.
How any of this helps anyone, we’ll never understand. But saying that is probably a microaggression.