Big brother, oh brother.
It has been a while since we have reported on Microaggression mania on college campuses:
- UCLA Prof accused of racist “micro-aggression” for correcting student grammar
- Microaggression Mania: McGill U. student leader apologizes for .gif of Obama kicking open door
- 2014 – Year of the Microaggression
- Princeton Student Says Joking About the Way He Says ‘Cool Whip’ is a Microaggression
What is a microaggression? One of the inventors of the terminology and theory describes it this way:
Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment.
As our prior reporting reflects, microaggression theory and practice are passive-aggressive control mechanisms meant to empower those who can claim protected group identity (it’s a lot more than about race or gender) over those who cannot.
There is no better example than what just happened at Ithaca College, where the student government just voted to establish a microaggression reporting system where students can complain about each other as well as about faculty and staff.
The Ithacan student newspaper reports:
The Ithaca College Student Government Association passed a bill March 16 to create an online system to report microaggressions, which sponsors of the bill said will create a more conducive environment for victims to speak about microaggressions.
The bill, sponsored by Class of 2018 senator Angela Pradhan, calls for the implementation of a campus-wide online system to report microaggressions to “make Ithaca College a safer, more inclusive and diverse community for all students.”
Pradhan said the online system would fill what she sees as a lack of an adequate system to report microaggressions.
“I know a lot of senators are working on microaggression stuff within their respective schools, but I felt that there was a need for something to happen schoolwide,” Pradhan said. “And if there was a concrete way to document [microaggressions] online, it would provide students a way to kind of state what’s going on.”
The system would allow individuals reporting microaggressions to remain anonymous. However, junior Kyle James, vice president of communications and co-sponsor of the bill, said those reporting a microaggression would likely have to reveal their identity if they wanted to pursue any legal action….
Seriously, legal action? For something someone didn’t even know they were doing?
The Ithacan continues:
The bill does not currently state that the names of people accused of committing microaggressions will be reported. While Pradhan said she believes the names of alleged offenders should be reported, she said there could be possible legal barriers.
James said the college’s legal affairs representatives are looking into potential legal roadblocks regarding the online system. However, he said he is not sure exactly what parts of the bill are coming under legal scrutiny.
“There’s a lot to sort through,” James said. “They haven’t told me the parts that are worrying them.”
However, he said in his initial conversation about the bill, the question of anonymity in the online reporting system came up as a potential legal problem. But he said it was indicated that there is a way for the bill to be legal.
The bill calls for a committee to be created to begin the process of creating and implementing the online reporting system.
Bonus question: To whom do students report the micraggression reporting system?
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