Snowflakes 101: University of Arizona distributes 20-page booklet on how to deal with microaggressions

March 18, 2017

Recommending the offended say ‘OUCH’ and the offender ‘OOPS’

Personally, if my child were attending this University, which seems  more focused on divisiveness rather than education, I’d be taking my child out!  Also, this University receives both State AND Federal Funding which taxpayers should keep in mind! -VTC

Submitted by:  Veronica Coffin

  • The University of Arizona has released a booklet on handling microaggressions
  • The booklet describes one approach as the ‘oops/ouch’ method 
  • Microaggressions are’everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults’ based off an individual’s minority status 

In an attempt to create a more respectful campus environment, the University of Arizona has released a booklet on handling microaggressions.

The 20-page packet discusses a number of guidelines for inside and outside the classroom for teachers and students to follow.

One section titled ‘Oops/Ouch’ discusses one possible method to use in identifying and reacting to microaggressions in a classroom.

In an attempt to create a more respectful campus environment, the University of Arizona has released a booklet on handling microaggressions

In an attempt to create a more respectful campus environment, the University of Arizona has released a booklet on handling microaggressions

One section titled 'Oops/Ouch' discusses one possible method to use in identifying and reacting to microaggressions in a classroom

One section titled ‘Oops/Ouch’ discusses one possible method to use in identifying and reacting to microaggressions in a classroom

The guideline reads: ‘If a student feels hurt or offended by another student’s comment, the hurt student can say ‘ouch.’

‘In acknowledgement, the student who made the hurtful comment says ‘oops.’ If necessary, there can be further dialogue about this exchange.’

The suggested ‘oops/ouch’ approach is one of a number of possible intervention strategies professors can use in classroom scenarios that may make marginalized groups uncomfortable provided by the booklet.

  The definition of a microaggression is also lined out in the booklet, which was approved by the University’s Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence Jesús Treviño, Ph.D.

The suggested 'oops/ouch' approach is one of a number of possible intervention strategies professors can use in classroom scenarios that may make marginalized groups uncomfortable

The suggested ‘oops/ouch’ approach is one of a number of possible intervention strategies professors can use in classroom scenarios that may make marginalized groups uncomfortable

He was hired in May 2016 to help promote diversity and inclusion on the school’s campus.

A microaggression is defined as ‘the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.’

These include perpetuating a number of race-based or gender-based stereotypes which often aren’t considered offensive, but have subtle underlying tones of heteronormativity, sexism, and racism.

MICROAGGRESSION EXAMPLES

  • Continuing to mispronounce the names of students after they have corrected you time and time again

Professor: ‘Is Jose Cuinantila here?’ Student: ‘I am here, but my name is Jesús Quintanilla.’

 • Scheduling tests and project due dates on religious or cultural holidays

‘It has just been pointed out to me that I scheduled the mid-term during Rosh Hashanah, but we are okay because I don’t see any Jewish students in the class.’

 • Setting low expectations for students from particular groups or high schools ‘Oh, so Robert, you’re from Pine Ridge High School? You are going to need lots of academic help in my class!’ 

• Calling on and validating male students and ignoring female students during class discussions

‘Let’s call on John again. He seems to have lots of great responses to some of these problems.’

• Expressing racially charged political opinions in class assuming that people with those racial/ethnic identities do not exist in class

‘I think illegal aliens are criminals because they are breaking the law and need to be rounded up and sent back to Mexico.’

 • Singling students out in class because of their backgrounds

‘You’re Asian! Can you tell us what the Japanese think about our trade policies?’

• Denying the experiences of students by questioning the credibility and validity of their stories

‘I’ve eaten and shopped plenty of times in that part of town and it’s nothing like you describe it. How long have you lived there and who are you hanging out with?’ 

• Assigning class projects that are heterosexist, sexist, racist, or promote other oppressions

‘For the class project, I want you to think about a romantic relationship that you have had with a member of the opposite sex. Think and write about your observations.’

 • Not respecting students gender pronouns, especially students who use gender neutral pronouns

‘Alex, you use ‘they/them’ pronouns. No, that’s too confusing. They is plural. I’m going to use him for you.’

• Using heterosexist or sexist examples or language in class.

‘Atoms sometimes attract each other like this male and female here. At the same time, atoms sometimes repel each other like these two males here.’ 

• Assigning projects that ignore differences in socioeconomic class status ‘For this class, you are required to visit four art galleries located in the downtown area. The entrance fees vary, but I am sure you can afford it.’

• Assuming that all students are from the U.S and fully understand American culture and the English language (i.e., be aware that there may be international students in the class)

‘What do you mean you have never heard of The Cosby Show? Where have you been hiding?’

 • Discouraging students from working on projects that explore their own social identities ‘If you are Native American, I don’t want you to write your paper on Native Americans. You already know everything about that group and besides you will be biased in your writing.’

 • Asking people with invisible disabilities to identify themselves in class

‘This is the last time that I am going to ask. Anybody with a disability who needs extra help, raise your hand!’

• Making assumptions about students and their backgrounds:

‘You’re Latino, and you don’t speak Spanish? You should be ashamed of yourself!’ 

 Courtesy of University of Arizona Office for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

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