University of Miami asks students to observe classmates for 'microagressions'
Image via Wikimedia Commons.

In a call for action to protect minorities, resident assistants (RAs) at University of Miami recently put up displays to educate students on “microaggressions”, its implications and how to stop them, Campus Reform reported.

The new display at University Building Village 2 is titled ‘SAY WHAT?’ and has boxes with these titles and its subsequent explanations in them:

“What is a microaggression?”

“Why do they matter?”

“What can you do?”

It also provided examples of phrases that make up microaggressions, such as “You Speak English very well,” “I don’t see color,” and “Can I touch your hair?”

According to the display, a microaggression is a “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities [sic], whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate [sic] hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults toward people of color, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, etc.”

Its effect? It is disrespectful and hurts. The bulletin board explained, “We live in a diverse community here at the U and need to be RESPECTFUL of everyone around us.”

“They may not seem like much, but microaggressions can hurt … people often hear many microaggressions in a single day and these can build up,” which psychologist Alvin Poussaint called “death by a thousand nicks””, the display board further elaborated.

In the last section, the board suggests strategies that students can use to “be an advocate for change.”

“If you hear a microaggression, confront the person about it,” the board states, “Ask ‘what makes you say that?’ or ‘did you know that that can actually be taken as offensive?’”

The RAs do not intend to incite a verbal war between students. As such, it adds a caution, saying “simply telling someone they’re wrong doesn’t remedy a situation”. Instead, students are encouraged to teach other that “what they are saying can be hurtful and offer better ways to approach those conversations or questions.”

This new display board follows a nationwide trend to curb political incorrectness in American universities.

In September 2016 , the University of Miami had to cancel the alt-right, anti-feminist Milo Yiannopoulos’ “Dangerous Faggot” tour when campus faculty said it created “security concerns”, which were not specified further. The event was organised by the University of Miami’s College Republicans.

The year before, the student government and the United Black Students club at the university wrote an open letter to show support to the student protesting against racism. The letter drew attention to “microaggressions”, described as a “racial shackle” faced by black students in a predominantly white student community.

The University of Miami is a private research institute ranked 44th in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 Best Colleges List and 12th among U.S. universities for ‘Lots of Race/Class Interaction’ according to the Princeton Review.

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