Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 23, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY


Editorial: Micro-aggressions definition must be clarified

“Micro-aggressions” are often subtle, derogatory remarks — both intentional and unintentional — that target minority or underrepresented groups. Because many students, faculty and staff members may not know they are possibly offending others, it is important that there is a collaborative effort to hinder the use and display of micro-aggressions.

The Student Government Association has made excellent efforts to raise awareness of micro-aggressions, such as creating a task force in April and making inclusion a priority for the 2014–15 academic year. There is now an effort to reach out to faculty regarding micro-aggressions. Belisa Gonzalez, associate professor of sociology, will facilitate a micro-aggressions workshop Dec. 4. She said the focus will be on the history of micro-aggressions, definitions, types of micro-aggressions and micro-aggressions in the education setting and their impact in the classroom.

Although the workshop will be beneficial and educational for faculty members who attend it, those putting on the workshop should be clear about which definition of micro-aggression they plan to use. The workshop should focus on micro-aggressions directed toward marginalized groups instead of more broadly on any statements that make students feel uncomfortable, which some people consider to be micro-aggressions. By addressing micro-aggressions with too wide of a definition, the organizers may risk weakening the severity of the issue.