Telling students they can succeed by working hard? That’s a microaggression at U. Wisconsin campus

Telling students they can succeed by working hard? That’s a microaggression at U. Wisconsin campus

Not since the invention of The Magic 8 Ball® has there been a more complete set of predictions than the one recently distributed to members of the faculty at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. Like those offered up by the 8 Ball, these hidden messages are the sheerest form of blather. Unlike the 8 Ball, which is marketed as a toy by Mattel Games, there is nothing fun about the “Examples of Racial Microaggressions” appearing on the school’s website. They are funny — if unintentionally so.

The resource is set up as a table with three columns. The first gives the theme, the second the microaggression(s), the third the “message.” If you’re new to the wonderfully wacky world of microaggressions, Joe Messina has a primer on it here.

The theme of the first item listed is “Alien in own land: When Asian Americans and Latino Americans are assumed to be foreign-born.” The microaggression takes the form of questions, such as “Where are you from?” “Where were you born?” “You speak good English.” The message is “You are not American. You are a foreigner.”

The complete list of ten items appears below, but one worth emphasizing is the sixth item, which falls under the theme “Myth of meritocracy.” The microaggression consists of the statements “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” and “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.” The message? “People of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race. People of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder.”

examplesexamples2Apart from the dog whistle nature of this resource, which makes it immediately suspect, there is reason to question whether there is even a need, statistically speaking, for faculty to bother with it. According to College Factual, which rates schools in terms of their ethnic diversity, the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point ranks 1,602 nationwide. The student body makeup is as follows: 93.4% are white, 2.5% Hispanic, 2.2% Asian, 1.3% black, 0.5% American Indian, and 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. As a teacher, your chance of offending any of these groups is less than 5%.

(h/t The Blaze)

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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