My Research

For about a month and a half, I wrote down any microaggressions I heard while in class, or anywhere around the University of Colorado Boulder campus. I chose ten examples that I felt were necessary to include on this site.

  1. A professor asks to ONLY be emailed 'professionally', or he won't answer.
    • Problem: assumes everyone's idea of a professional manner is the same, or aligns with that of 'proper American English'. This instruction is also not nearly specific enough and it's highly exclusive.
  2. A professor reminds us (in an education class) that students should refer to us as Mrs/Mr (insert last name here)
    • Problem: reinforces that in 'proper American English' authority figures MUST be referred to this way. But why? Who is reinforcing this? Is it necessary?
  3. Professor jokingly uses term 'basic white girl'
    • Problem: inappropriate, degrading humor against females.
  4. Professor calls on one gender significantly more than another. It is statistically proven that teachers call on and interact with boys eight times more than girls (Childhood Education, 1996). 
    • Problem: degrading to all the other sexes. Unfairness in the classroom, degrades many students.
  5. Teacher said, 'these kids might need some extra help. English is their second language." at a local middle school. 
    • Problem: just because AE is a second language does not mean it should be assumed that those students are going to need extra help. And if they do, there is certainly a euphemism to replace that word choice.
  6. Teacher assigns homework that involves spending money.
    • Problem: assuming socioeconomic status, assuming all students can either cover this fee themselves or their family members can.
  7. Professor uses an example from "Breaking Bad" to explain an idea in the classroom.
    • Problem: While pop culture examples can be extremely helpful in the classroom, if they are going to be used, various examples from various cultures should be used.
  8. Professor asks for a Jewish student to answer a question on Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
    • Problem: this happened to one of my closest friends, who is Jewish. She said that she felt put on the spot, uncomfortably pressured, and singled out. 
  9. Professor assumes my preferred pronoun, and although they were correct, that very easily could have been wrong.
    • Problem: would seriously offend a student if they guessed wrong. Guessing should not happen by a professor, this could easily be avoided by asking at the beginning of the year. 
  10. Student tells another student to "shut up" and the teacher doesn't say anything at all (at a local middle school)
    • Problem: not addressing a microaggression IS a microaggression.