In last week’s story, “SGA pushes for campus inclusion and release of survey data,” I was asked to express my feelings about microagressions on campus. However, I found that my quote did not provide enough context for readers to fully understand my perspective. One of the key pieces missing from this quote was the fact that I had experienced harsh stereotyping that caused me to lose self-confidence. When I would assert myself in class or voice my opinion, I was told I had a “strong” and “feisty” personality. I was constantly being judged for my attitude. It was based on these experiences that I began to downplay my personality to avoid being the stereotypical “aggressive” black woman that many of my colleagues and professor expressed I was. Being constantly told that you have an “attitude” can be very discouraging and it can break you down.
I am proud, however, to say that there is nothing wrong with being assertive or expressing myself. I am who I am, and it is not me or my “feisty” personality, but rather people’s misconceptions of assertive women of color that is the issue.