Though the term microaggression has become a buzzword today, frequently appearing in popular news stories and in social media feeds pertaining to social life on college campuses, over 5,000 studies over the last 8+ years exist on the topic; Wing Sue notes that research focuses on how such seemingly minor slights are harmful and have shown to impact students’ academic performance, mental health, and work productivity. Of course, microaggressions affect non-majority group members and oftentimes serve to perpetuate their position as “other,” relegated to the margins of a given community or institutional fabric, not limited to college campuses or students. Our project concentrates on the Davidson College campus community as a rich site in need of attention to this widespread issue.
Perhaps the most well-known microaggressions website is The Microaggressions Project, formed in 2010 via Tumblr and swiftly gained widespread attention. The project has been featured in The New York Times, Feministing, Bitch Magazine, Racialicious, Buzzfeed, among other outlets, and has over 20,000 Tumblr followers. People can submit microaggressions anonymously with a key pull quote and then story context in the box that accompanies the quote. In recent years, colleges and universities across the nation have responded to the proliferation of microaggressions by forming online outlets for showcasing these stories and making them accessible to others.
Inspired by the #itooamharvard project, Davidson student artists/activists created the #itooamdavidson.tumblr.com page to serve as a performative platform for sharing experiences with microaggressions and social marginalization at Davidson. A similar project started by Davidson students is the Outsider Monologues. These two Davidson projects are wonderful awareness-raising initiatives by and for our campus community members, featuring photographs of students holding white boards with short messages that make poignant statements to call out microaggressions.
With this in mind, the project will incorporate several components, including:
1) Strategies and best practices, short essays written for a lay audience that elaborate upon
2) lntergroups Dialogue training through Stirfry Seminars in Berkeley, CA: Cross-Cultural Facilitation Skills for Diversity Trainers, Educators, and Therapists. 5-day intensive training facilitated by Lee Mun Wah & Rainbow Markell.
3) G.I.F.T.S. (Great Ideas for Teaching Students). I will issue a call for pedagogical G.I.F.T.S. from our faculty who would like to contribute their specific ideas in detailed written format for inclusion on the DMP website in the Resources tab and cross-linked with the CTL’s inclusive pedagogy bibliography.
4) Guest Bloggers for DMP. The project team will solicit guest blog posts on topics relevant to inclusive pedagogy, strategies and best practices, short essays written for a lay audience that elaborate upon relevant scholarship for greater depth to certain topics about diversity and inclusivity, and that address some of the themes that resonate from the microaggressions stories featured on the DMP website. The call for guest bloggers will be widespread and may feature posts from interested faculty, staff, students, and administrators.