University Report: A Room Full of White People Is a Microaggression

Katherine Timpf, National Review, May 12, 2015

According to a new report released by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, just “walking into or sitting in” a classroom full of white people is a microaggression in itself.

“Students of color reported feeling uncomfortable and unwelcomed just walking into or sitting in the classroom, especially if they were the only person of color, or one of a few,” stated the report, which designated the experience a microaggression.

“People do not necessarily say I do not belong, but I feel as if I do not when I am in a classroom and I am the one non-White person,” said one student, identified as a Latina female, who is quoted in the report.

The report, titled “Racial Microaggressions,” was based on an online survey of more than 4,800 students of color during the 2011–12 academic year, and it found more than 800 examples of such microaggressions on campus. Now, that may seem like a lot–but it’s important to recognize that this high number could signify the prevalence of a tendency to assume that almost anything is racist rather than the prevalence of racism itself.

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Despite the fact that so many of these “microaggressions” are designated as such based on questionable assumptions, the study still recommends that the school take drastic measures to stop them: requiring that all students complete a “General Education requirement about race, White privilege, and inequality in the United States” as well as “both a non-Western culture and a US people of color cultural course”; fundamentally altering the curriculum to ensure that a third of all college 101 classes “include diversity and inclusion”; providing workshops, trainings, campaigns, and brochures “to help students identify when racial microaggressions are occurring”; creating a “slogan or language”–such as the phrase “Racism Alert”–to use when they identify one; and developing a “mechanism for students to report perceived racial microaggressions.”

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