Not enough to fight microaggressions against minorities; introducing ‘microaffections’

Not enough to fight microaggressions against minorities; introducing ‘microaffections’

[Ed. – The lunacy mounts.]

An academic librarian at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst recently encouraged her fellow librarians to fight microaggressions by hugging students or telling them “I love you.”

According to Isabel Espinal, the school librarian for students majoring in Afro American Studies, these small acts of kindness are called “microaffections,” and can help create a more “empowering” learning experience for students of color.

A “Microaffections Rubric” that Espinal created for a presentation at the Dartmouth Library Conference in October recommends that librarians “note someone’s unique fashion sense,” “smile at students,” “hug someone,” say “I love you,” and even “admit when you commit a microaggression and apologize.”

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Librarians can also “publically appreciate something a coworker or student did,” “help a coworker get promoted,” or “invite a colleague out for coffee,” Espinal recommends.

The rubric specifically notes that one should “say or do these things to students of color” and “colleagues of color,” but the presentation also cautions elsewhere that practicing microaffections isn’t “easy,” calling it a skill that can “take practice” to learn.

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