Microprivileges

An idea on microprivilege. I might contribute my own ideas later.

rethinking diversity

  • The off-hand comment that a student was granted admission or a colleague was hired “for diversity”
  • The scheduling of homework or tests over Rosh Hashanah
  • Sending home a “parent” permission slip

These are all examples of what Professor Derald Wing Sue and his colleagues would term microaggressions, the “subtle, stunning, often automatic, and nonverbal exchanges, which are put-downs” (2007). Their research suggests that we express our biases every day in ways that are loud and clear, and yet at the same time, subtle and hard to prove. After all, there is an initiative for greater diversity (so I’m just sayin’); students do get Rosh Hashanah “off” (and there are so many schools days missed in the fall!) and most children live with their parents, not other relatives or guardians (don’t they?)

The common theme in these incidences of microaggression is being singled out, intentionally or not, on the basis of identity–to be more precise, non-majority identity–and experiencing being less than an equal member of your community.

You know you’ve…

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