San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Microaggressions

Have you heard about the latest fad on college campuses?  It is called microaggressions and the goal of its proponents is to create a new class of hate speech that will allow the objects of that hate speech to claim victim status and grant themselves special access to additional government privileges.  Harvard Medical School professor Chester Pierce came up with the term in the 1970s.  According to an article by Cass Sunstein (male) of Bloomberg News (really?  Bloomberg has descended to this level?), "microaggressions describe the kind of behavior that can really hurt -- and that deserves stigmatizing."  I first read about microaggressions about a month ago when I saw a story about a group of racial minority students protesting the actions of a professor at some California university, I forget which one.  They staged some sort of coup designed to get him fired for using all of the alleged microaggressive hate speech against them.  So just what sorts of things rise to the level of microaggressive hate speech?  The official definition given by Cass is, "words or behaviors that might stigmatize or humiliate women or members of minority groups, with particular emphasis on African-Americans, disabled people, and gays and lesbians."  Let me give you some examples from Sunstein's article:
  • It is a microaggression whenever a professor refers to African-Americans as "you people."
  • It is a microaggression whenever a professor approvingly states that a student "does not act like a normal black person."
  • It is a microaggression if you proclaim that today's African-American students are "amazingly articulate."
  • It is a microaggression if a professor informs a female student that she is "good at math."
  • It is a microaggression if a professor informs a female student that when he looks at her he "does not even think about your gender, I just see an outstanding young person."  
  • It is a microaggression if a university administrator expresses astonishment that a football star is gay.
  • It is a microaggression if a university administrator raises his voice when speaking to a blind person.
  • It is a microaggression if a university administrator mistakes a person of color for a service worker.
  • It is a microaggression if a university administrator assumes that a female medical student is training to be a nurse.
  • The University of Wisconsin has declared that microaggressions include a "statement made when whites deny their racial biases and statements made that indicate a white person does not want to acknowledge race."
Sunstein concludes that microaggressions "can be humiliating, especially if people are exposed to a lot of them.  In their worst forms they insult people's dignity, giving them a sense that important people think they don't really belong....persistent microaggressions make people think that they are second-class citizens -- and can impose real psychological damage....It is useful and important to identify and stigmatize the most serious microaggressions, which can be genuinely damaging."  
I don't know about you but I am feeling a lot of microaggressions right now.  I feel like I am under attack by blacks, cripples, women and homosexuals.  I feel that they are unwilling to acknowledge their innate bias against the Welsh.  As a result of their continuous stream of microaggressions I am beginning to feel like a second class citizen.  In fact, I think I have just now developed a mental illness.  My mental illness causes me to be insensitive to the use of microaggressions.  It is a defensive mental illness brought about by years of hearing people talk about how one person "welshed" another person by means of an immoral business transaction.  Regardless of the source of my mental illness, I suddenly feel the need to make some statements about the nature of the universe and my place in it.  Here they are:
  • I was at the gym yesterday and I saw a fat girl working out.  She wasn't sweating very much so I went up to her and complimented her by saying, "For a fat girl you don't sweat very much."
  • I went to a restaurant called the Celtic Tavern, in downtown Denver,  a couple of weeks ago.  While in the restaurant I saw an Irishman who wasn't drunk.  I went up to him and said, "Good for you.  You are the first sober Irishman I have seen this week."
  • After dinner I went to a Rockies game.  I was sitting in a seat just beyond the left field fence.  A black player for the other team made a fantastic play in which he jumped high into the air and robbed one of the Rockies of a home run.  Even though he played for the opposing team I shouted out praise to him.  I said, "Way to jump, homeboy!"
  • I went to my favorite Taco Bell for a couple of tacos yesterday.  As I walked in I saw a notice on the door informing me that they would be closing their doors that evening, never to open again.  Putting on my best sympathetic tone I went up to the manager and said, "What happened?  This is my favorite Taco Bell in town.  Did you run out of cheap wet-back labor?"
  • I had to spend about 15 minutes with a Scot last night.  It seemed like forever.  Finally I could stand it no longer and I blurted out, "You are attacking me with your microaggressions.  From now on every sentence you say must first be prefaced with the following statement, 'I will not deny my racial bias against the Welsh.'  After making that statement you may continue with what you have to say.  But make it short.  I have better things to do than waste my time talking to a cheap Scot."
  • I was riding my bike up a mountain road a week or so ago.  While riding along I slowly came up on a one-legged rider.  He looked to be about my age and he was peddling along at a slow pace up the hill.  Not wanting to be guilty of a microaggression by failing to recognize his disability, I stood up and sprinted past him.  As I flew past him I yelled, "Ha! Ha!  I beat you!  There isn't a fat woman or a one-legged guy I can't beat on this hill!"
  • I am guilty of one microaggression in the past month.  While attending a gala event a month or so ago I noticed two homosexuals holding hands under the dinner table.  I failed to go up to them and confirm their lifestyles.  I failed to affirm their choice of sex partner as moral and pleasing to God.  I failed them in every way because I ignored them.  I can see that I still have a lot of work to do to overcome my microaggressive behavior.

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