It won’t be the Grinch who steals Christmas this year from the academic calendar of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It will be the school’s “employee forum.”
An article posted on the forum’s web pagee titled “Career corner: Understanding microaggressions” defines microaggressions as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual orientation and religious slights and insults to the target person or group.”
Then it gives some examples of different types of microaggressions. One of them is “academic calendars and encouraged vacations … organized around major religious observances.” The message this conveys “further centers the Christian faith and minimizes non-Christian spiritual rituals and observances.”
The document doesn’t come right out and say the C-word (Christmas), but the author, Katie Turner, would be hard-pressed to explain how the meaning of her lengthy circumlocution is something other than Christmas vacation.
There is more — much more — to the list, touching on topics ranging from gender to gender identity to sexual orientation to topics that actually aren’t obsessively fixated on sexuality … such as race.
Suffice it to say if you have a son or daughter (or “other”) enrolled there, make sure you avoid microaggressing when communicating with him or her (or it) over the Christmas break. You can never tell who might be tapping into your conversation.