No, microaggressions are not going away in the Trump era. If anything, they are metastasizing. Consider the reaction of the Vancouver chapter of Black Lives Matter to a liberal politician’s borrowing of a Beyoncé lyric for a graphic on her campaign’s Facebook page. The group tweeted out “Appropriating Black culture is not intersectional feminism. Please delete your ‘to the left’ FB post & address the issue.”
Closer to home, the University of Arizona has published a 20-page online booklet on “Diversity and Inclusiveness in the Classroom” that contains strategies for engaging students. Forgive my cynicism, but haven’t colleges been doing this forever, with mixers, dances, and so on?
Anyway, there is a section of the booklet titled “Personal and Group Affirmation” that focuses on creating safe spaces for students to “engage in dialogue about challenging topics.” Again, it would seem to me that the best medicine for dealing with differences is to ignore them. To borrow a liberal formulation from back when I was in school, “See the person, not the packaging.”
But, no, Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence Jesús Treviño, who authored this touchy-feely tome, wants students to powwow about challenging topics. Besides, if a student says something untoward or provocative to a student from another culture, the offended student can let him know he’s crossed a line. How? By saying, “Ouch!”
I kid you not. It’s part of the “Oops/ouch” strategy:
If a student feels hurt or offended by another student’s comment, the hurt student can say “ouch.” In acknowledgement, the student who made the hurtful comment says “oops.” If necessary, there can be further dialogue about this exchange.
Ouch? Really? We are talking about young adults, aren’t we? I realize that colleges nowadays have taken to coddling their undergraduates, offering them puppies, cocoa, and even coloring books to help them de-stress. But Ouch?
I don’t know about you, but as for me: Ouch!
(h/t Michael Dorstewitz, BPR)