Microaggression

Whelp here is a new word in our repertoire lately. It is used to describe hostile, derogatory or negative prejudicial slights and insults towards any group, particularly culturally marginalized groups.

I heard this a couple of weeks ago and wondered what it meant. I saw it in reference to a Hollywood actress, regarding a workplace environment created by another actress. This was a new buzzword that was being floated around, so I thought I would research it. It was evident to me that it had to come from academia, for most of the pop-psychology terms that lay blame and lead to victimization come from this arena.

I have since been hearing and seeing this often. It is like a sick game of telephone where something is spoken, and it grows and gains talons and offshoots as it emerges.

The latest example came from my own child’s school district via an email. This email stated that the school district surveyed parents of color about the culture and climate of the district. This is something that the district felt was extremely important to do since the recent events have brought up feelings for many. I think that these discussions should probably be happening on the regular. I also disagree with only including parents of color. If this is going to be a real problem-solving round table, then both sides must be represented.

I read the email, and then not five minutes later, a second email came out that appeared to be edited. I am concerned for many that what was edited out is telling. The first email stated that one of the concerns that was brought up was this: racist remarks and microaggressions made by white students and staff. The second email eliminated this statement. I am telling you right now, this is a major problem with me as a parent. This has me shaking my head.

So does microaggression go both ways? According to the definition, it should. However, I am here to tell you that this is not the case. Victimization and aggression is often in the eye of the beholder. It is a feeling. Feelings are arbitrary in nature. This is a very dangerous territory we are entering if we start to entertain this for our students and young people. This becomes often a he said, she said situation, and can lead to damage of reputations. This is a serious consequence for young adults since they rely heavily on their reputation for social and emotional purposes. If we start giving validation to every little feeling and emotion, we are creating a giant vacuum of victims that can never find their way out.

I like to subscribe to the following school of thought:

It is always easy to blame others. You can spend your entire life blaming the world for everything, but your successes or failures are ENTIRELY YOUR OWN.

Playing the victim card blinds you to your own flaws and so you can never improve. Self-pity is the easiest way to create unilateral misery.

Microaggressions or for sake of my sanity, macroaggressions apparently do not apply to the police. Evidently they are immune to such insults and discrimination. They are by design exempt from this form of word vomit from others. They are racists, pigs, bastards and must hate all who do not look like them or think like them. The things I am seeing in the media and neighborhoods as of late suggest this is just the case.

I am not playing victim for the police at all in this statement. What I am saying to you is, we need to stop blaming a few bad actions on a whole. This applies to all situations. Stop playing victims and crying racism. Get to know people individually before casting judgment. Stop being so fragile in our feelings for life is tough people. If we walked around having our feelings hurt every day, we would have a very difficult time contributing anything to this beautiful land. The police are necessary to carry out hard, dangerous work to keep your communities safe. They are needed and always will be. They do not have racism at their core.

Microaggression implies racism. This is a dangerous game of words and feelings that we are allowing to be played. This is not about making people uncomfortable. People should be uncomfortable in their daily life. Microaggression stems from complacency. Complacency breeds hatred and misunderstanding among everyone. If this happens, have a conversation, like adults, and figure out a mutual solution that serves both people.

I am concerned that in this politically charged climate that we are now pushing this responsibility onto our young people who are not yet prepared to deal with it. They do not have the cognitive or social abilities to separate feelings and emotions from reality sometimes. They are impulsive and sensitive. They are learning and they are watching.

I suggest we start to lead by better example. Stop the blame and toxicity among adults. Show our kids what it means to be good neighbors, family members and students. Do not shame people for small mistakes. Pray that morality will help guide those that are lost in these feelings. Stop slashing away at those who you view as having this microaggression. It is OK to have a viewpoint different from your own. It does not mean that you need to live your life trying to CHANGE their mind. Assume positive intentions of everyone until they prove otherwise.

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