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Micro Aggression

"The definition of a racial micro aggression is subtle (often unintentional or unconscious) forms of racial discrimination that negatively affect victims’ mental health (Nadal, Kevi, Yinglee, et al. 2014, p. 461)."

Before ever attending an institution for higher education I never knew there was a proper terminology for outwardly associating an african-american with watermelon & chicken. Even other examples such as asians with intelligence or Mexicans with lawn mowing businesses. This is what America perceives to be completely normal and while members of certain ethnic groups have embraced these stereotypical notions... I try to steer clear of them. In 2017 there is no room to judge any book by its cover because at face value you will be either surprised, disappointed, and/or indifferent. I've witnessed and been a victim of micro-aggressions in the workplace, school environments, and any other place where humans dwell daily. So I'll share with you as my professor Dr. Horace Carney shared with me at one point in my academic career.

"Treat the janitor the same way you'd treat the principle" This simple sentence has stuck with me for years... because it is not only true, but it is the most humble way to acknowledge any individual no matter their race, ethnicity, occupation, net worth etc. We see this happen as students tend to get older and begin deciding who is worth hanging out with or who to sit with at lunch. Students even go as far as judging sneakers to determine a students "wealth" and "popularity" among the group. I never realized the struggle that a student of asian decent deals with surrounding being "smart". Do you ever think of the asian student who struggles academically just as any other student? As ethnicities in America we all have struggles that we our subconsciously judged horribly by. I think of every black scholar out there trying to prove they belong, when they are crushing their competition by miles. I think of the women from the movie Hidden Figures who were gifted all along but still had to prove themselves to the inferior minded counterparts. This is not what our students should be taught.

Dear Students,

Remember what it feels like when you are being excluded... judged... and not given a fair chance. If your are privileged, think of those students you have connected with from an different upbringing than your own. Tax brackets separate students... and to my knowledge there are students of every color on free and/or reduced lunch, attending title one schools, and filling out FAFSA forms to pay for college. If you come from wealth spread the humility and be an advocate for equity. If you come from poverty, don't allow your present circumstances to define where you are going. I have seen students literally DEFY THE ODDS. Micro aggressions hurt. Passive Aggressiveness hurts. I know everything is easier said than done, but I want you to be better than those before you. Leave your mark of love on life, not judgment. Most importantly and above all else... keep going, keep learning, and keep growing.

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