March 21, 2014

Microassaults, microinsults and microinvalidations

A year and a day after my Taki's Magazine article on "The Cult of Microaggressions," the NYT starts to catch up:
The Big Topic on Campus: Racial ‘Microaggressions’ 
By TANZINA VEGA    MARCH 21, 2014

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A tone-deaf inquiry into an Asian-American’s ethnic origin. Cringe-inducing praise for how articulate a black student is. An unwanted conversation about a Latino’s ability to speak English without an accent.
This is not exactly the language of traditional racism, but in an avalanche of blogs, student discourse, campus theater and academic papers, they all reflect the murky terrain of the social justice word du jour — microaggressions — used to describe the subtle ways that racial, ethnic, gender and other stereotypes can play out painfully in an increasingly diverse culture.
On a Facebook page called “Brown University Micro/Aggressions” a “dark-skinned black person” describes feeling alienated from conversations about racism on campus. A digital photo project run by a Fordham University student about “racial microaggressions” features minority students holding up signs with comments like “You’re really pretty … for a dark-skin girl.” The “St. Olaf Microaggressions” blog includes a letter asking David R. Anderson, the college’s president, to address “all of the incidents and microaggressions that go unreported on a daily basis.”
Across college campuses and social media, younger generations have started to challenge those fleeting comments that seem innocent but leave uneasy feelings behind. ...
The recent surge in popularity for the term can be attributed, in part, to an academic article Derald W. Sue, a psychology professor at Columbia University, published in 2007 in which he broke down microaggressions into microassaults, microinsults and microinvalidations.

He literally grew up as A Boy Named Sue.
Dr. Sue, who has literally written the book on the subject, called “Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation,” attributed the increased use of the term to the rapidly changing demographics in which minorities are expected to outnumber whites in the United States by 2042. “As more and more of us are around, we talk to each other and we know we’re not crazy,” Dr. Sue said. Once, he said, minorities kept silent about perceived slights. “I feel like people of color are less inclined to do that now,” he said.

So, the fewer the white people, the more nonwhites will be angry at them? Sounds like a promising future for America ...
Some say challenges to affirmative action in recent years have worked to stir racial tensions and resentments on college campuses. At least in part as a result of a blog started by two Columbia University students four years ago called The Microaggressions Project, the word made the leap from the academic world to the free-for-all on the web. Vivian Lu, the co-creator of the site, said she has received more than 15,000 submissions since she began the project. 
To date, the site has had 2.5 million page views from 40 countries. Ms. Lu attributed the growing popularity of the term to its value in helping to give people a way to name something that may not be so obvious. “It gives people the vocabulary to talk about these everyday incidents that are quite difficult to put your finger on,” she said. ... 
When students at Harvard performed a play this month based on a multimedia project, “I, Too, Am Harvard,” that grew out of interviews with minority students, an entire segment highlighted microaggressions. ...

Tsega Tamene, 20, a history and science major, and a producer for the play, said microaggressions were an everyday part of student life. “It’s almost scary the way that this disguised racism can affect you, hindering your success and the very psyche of going to class,” she said.

Also:
   

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call them aggressions and it's not limited to majority on minority.

Of course there are racial tensions that are expressed in slight acts. This is a really no duh phenomenon.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

So, the feeling I get when I hear minorities and liberal whites crowing about "diversity" and know that they really mean "less white people" - is that microaggression? Where do I collect my cheque?

Anonymous said...

Dammit, I think the name "Brown University" is a form of microaggression!

Anonymous said...

The comments following the NYT article are discouraging. For every person saying you need to have thicker skin there about 10 saying "microaggressions" are a serious issue.

Discard said...

Affirmative action and the rest of the anti-White package is macro-aggression, yes?

Whiskey said...

Beatings will continue until morale improves.

E. Rekshun said...

Is Knockout Game a "microaggression"?

C. Van Carter said...

Hilarious parody of The Microaggressions Project.

Anonymous said...

Like when Biden said in the Democratic primary that Obama is pretty smart, for a black guy?

Svigor said...

A tone-deaf inquiry into an Asian-American’s ethnic origin.

Don't worry, this racist doesn't care about the "Asian-American's" ethnic origins.

Cringe-inducing praise for how articulate a black student is.

Don't worry, this racist doesn't find any blacks articulate.

An unwanted conversation about a Latino’s ability to speak English without an accent.

Don't worry, this racist doesn't flatter Latinos for their unaccented English.

This is not exactly the language of traditional racism

Lol.

HA said...

The comments following the NYT article are discouraging.

I suspect you are over-extrapolating from the subset of people who are both NYT readers and also concerned enough about microaggression to post a comment on said article. It's not surprising to me that within that intersection of criteria, you're going to observe the distribution loony leftiness that you did, but I don't regard that as being broadly indicative of anything.

BTW, isn't referring to an incident as "micro-aggression" a way of demeaning and belittling the importance of any such incident, and thereby a form of microaggression in and of itself? The mind would boggle -- if it could only be induced to give a flip one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

Complaining about microaggressions is learned behavior, a form of calculated socialization for NAMs, at elite colleges and universities.

Space Ghost said...

Microaggressions remind me a lot of the concept of "negging" from the pickup artist community.

Anonymous said...

Biden also said Obama was articulate. Double micro.

buzz halcion said...

There's way too much earnestness here. Lately, I just yell "don't hurt me!" and start running whenever anyone black gets near.

Anonymous said...

Somebody accused me of being microaggressive once, so I punched him in the throat.

Anonymous said...

NYT, March 21, 2024:

"Nano-aggressions Remain Stumbling Block to a True Multicultural Society"

fish said...

On a Facebook page called “Brown University Micro/Aggressions”......


Brown University...? BROWN UNIVERSITY....?!?!? Oh sure...not nearly as good as White University!

Will these slights never end????

Anonymous said...

So do they intend to enforce microcensorship then ?

Bert said...

This is such a SWPL issue that it's hilarious anyone is even giving it a second thought.

Most folks, of any race, just don't have time for this crap.

Anonymous said...

This isn't racial, it's generational.

The millennial generation are a bunch of thin-skinned, narcissistic, whining, bleating deadbeats.

What a bunch of little girls.

Man up.

Hunsdon said...

First world problems.

Anonymous said...

"This is such a SWPL issue that it's hilarious anyone is even giving it a second thought."

Wrong.

Along with White privilege it's a gradual but intentional redefinition of racism for the next stage.

Anonymous said...

"Vivian Lu, the co-creator of the site, said she has received more than 15,000 submissions since she began the project. "

15,000 microagressions only amounts to 15 milliagressions. Come on, we can do better.

Harry Baldwin said...

Complaining about microaggressions is learned behavior, a form of calculated socialization for NAMs, at elite colleges and universities.

Yes, we must hone our students' sensitivity to minor slights to prepare them for the day they go out into the world in search of giant settlements.

Anonymous said...

Do they publish, like, a list of rules and proper etiquette re: "microaggressions"? I imagine they need a different handbook for white men (that one will be the biggest, with the most restrictions), black women, Eskimo transsexuals, you get the idea.

It would be one thing if this socio-ideological neurosis was confined to campuses and SWPL enclaves, but remember, campuses are little incubators of what liberals want to export to the rest of us. Their policies and ideologies on campus are living examples of liberal ideology enthroned and in your face (for example, guilty until proven innocent in accusations of sexual assault, restrictive speech codes, affirmative action at all costs).

With the preening and the obsession with rigid rules of conduct, the old neo-Puritanism charge seems to ring true.

Anonymous said...

In the past wouldn't these microaggressions be called simple rudeness or lack of manners?

How much of these microagressions are the result just having a disproportionate amount of socially awkward nerds on your average college campus?

-Ed

Hunsdon said...

For some reason, a line from an old Mickey Spillane novel comes to mind. Mike Hammer is walking through Greenwich Village, looking at some hippie protesters. His thought?

"These kids need a jungle to fight in."

I didn't go to Iraq or Afghanistan, but a friend of mine did (a double pump in Iraq), and then he worked at Wounded Warrior Battalion-East, aboard Camp Lejeune, and at Bethesda Naval Hospital for a while.

Amputees, double amps, triple amps, quads. TBI (traumatic brain injury), PTSD, thousand yard stare, suicidal ideation, substance abuse and addiction, and then the joy of dealing with a VA system that's been a joke for as long as I've been paying attention, which is since the 70s at least.

Good kids, too. Eighteen, nineteen years old, mid twenties.

My sympathy for "safe spaces" and "comfort zones" against microagressions is about zero. And falling.

map said...

Universities need to be defunded. Start with allowing student loans to be dischargeabe in bankruptcy.

David said...

Millennials love memes, so with most of the credit going to the always incisive commenter Hunsdon, let's send out the pithy(and quite true) meme stating "Micro-aggressions are a First World Problem".

David said...

To whom do I complain about black co-workers calling me "Andy" (as in Andy Griffith), stealing my stuff, "confusing" me with another white man and then snickering "You all look alike," talking about the day "all white people will be killed," and staring burning holes of hatred through me? (Vignettes from my 20s.)

Oh, that's right. These aren't microaggressions, because I'm white. So they are well-deserved lessons taught to the oppressor class instead.

Aggression means a white person's existing. Be careful not to use any multi-syllable words out there, friends.

Anonymous said...

"Twinkle, twinkle, little whore / You're at school, not Jersey Shore ..."

So telling a girl she's dressed like a slut is now a microaggression?

Ă…sille Olava said...

"The comments following the NYT article are discouraging."

If you look at the "Readers' Pick" you will see that the most voted-up comment says "Toughen Up" and and the second most popular comment does the same.

The third most popular comment goes on to say

"Pity the fools who actually believe that we should "celebrate diversity," have a "conversation on race," or rejoice in the "gorgeous mosaic." If they admire a black colleague's new box braids, inquire about an Asian-American neighbor's cultural background out of genuine interest, or ask out of innocent curiosity whether a Latino co-worker is bilingual, they place themselves in a bucket labeled "racist." (Yes, every single one of those innocuous interchanges has been labeled "microaggression.)"

roundeye said...

About 1976 our parish "adopted" a Vietnamese family lead by a formal coronal in the SVA (bugged out in 1975 since he was going to be killed and family sent to the gulag). Their oldest son was named Su. He wad teased until about 7th grade when he started dunking basketballs. Set the confetence high jump record. He was a foot tallet than his dad, western diet.

JWS said...

No lie that is the big topic on campus. More time, classroom space, and money is devoted to "the subtle ways that racial, ethnic, gender and other stereotypes can play out painfully" than just about any other field of inquiry.

The PC mentality of the "cult of microagressions" is probably inevitable in our pluralistic society and might not be all bad to the extent it helps people get along in school and work environments. Like most people, I sort of adhered to it unconsciously in college. Getting older I've realized this hypersensitivity is a path to being a loser in life, and that much of the reigning PC orthodoxy is for SWPL types who absorb all this claptrap about race, class, sex orientation and gender and walk away from school thinking they are somehow superior to people who have acquired real knowledge and experience about things that actually matter.

Also, Steve might want to take the NYT over its failure to mention Derald Sue's relationship with one of his psychology department colleagues, Madonna Constantine.

Derald Sue published the article cited by the NYT around the same time in 2007 as a pretty notorious hate crime hoax perpetrated by Constantine. Madonna Constantine's career is a sad example of what happens to someone who actually believes the nonsense in Dr. Sue's books and articles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna_Constantine

Looks like Professor Sue and Constantine worked together on at least 3 academic publications.

Not surprisingly, the NYT was not interested in the career of Dr. Sue's co-author. I wonder why.



Steve Sailer said...

Ah, yes, Madonna Constantine (what a name!) and Noose News:

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2008/02/noose-news.html

Anonymous said...

One of the papers Derald Sue co-authored with Constantine was titled "Perceptions of Racial microaggressions among Black Supervisees in Cross-Racial Dyads"

Anonymous said...

I think this kind of puerile whining is just a way of excusing their own mediocrity or laziness. It's kind of like stoners imagining deep truths when their minds are really blank.

TGGP said...

"As more and more of us are around, we talk to each other and we know we’re not crazy"
Yes, previous generations of africans americans simply did not talk to each other. They were so thinly spread among the white masses, it was rare indeed for one to even cross another's path.

Jennifer said...

Now they're demanding to be paid for whining about microaggressions on Twitter:

http://www.thenation DOT COM/blog/178950/tweeters-world-unite

Recently I plugged the monikers of some Twitter famous POC into Twitter Counter to check their stats, and realized many of them have to be posting from work. (Many Twitters have the disclaimer that their opinions are theirs and not employers'.) No way do you have a full-time job, average 200 Tweets daily and write a popular Tumblr without doing much of it from work.

So many of these people are already being paid.

Anonymous said...

"Hilarious parody of The Microaggressions Project."

Ha. I see what you did there. That's the actual site, right?

Gilbert P

Silver said...

" He wad teased until about 7th grade when he started dunking basketballs. Set the confetence high jump record. He was a foot tallet than his dad, western diet."

What does this have to do with anything? Also, fyi, genetics > western diet.

Svigor said...

It would be one thing if this socio-ideological neurosis was confined to campuses and SWPL enclaves, but remember, campuses are little incubators of what liberals want to export to the rest of us. Their policies and ideologies on campus are living examples of liberal ideology enthroned and in your face (for example, guilty until proven innocent in accusations of sexual assault, restrictive speech codes, affirmative action at all costs).

With the preening and the obsession with rigid rules of conduct, the old neo-Puritanism charge seems to ring true.


You say Puritan, I say Talmudic...tomato, tomato.

Anonymous said...

Before anyone gets too worried about this, I recently spent some time on a fairly prestigious campus and noticed a lot of beer drinking.

Plus, students sucking up to get a job or in grad or professional school, &c.

A shortage of 'back of the room' types, which I'll admit to being a member of back in the day.

Because of tenure, it will take a long time to rid universities of gender studies and post modern drivel.

My impression is that the vast majority of students avoid these courses like the plague.

Every generation needs their unique cause, and today it seems to be 'sustainability'. I saw a lot of it but not much passion. Like not recycling is sort of like littering used to be. Locovore rumblings.

To be honest, the only real passion I ever observed on any campus had to do with sports teams and opposition to the War/Draft back when male college students were actually expected to fight and die.

Remember, today's college students learned the difference between gender and sex by sixth grade. They are sick to death with old people lecturing them on anything remotely like this. And, these gender studies professors are getting OLD.