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New Student Orientation - Language Matters


Zaneta Rago

on 3 November 2015

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Transcript of New Student Orientation - Language Matters


The big impact of
"the little things"

"That's gay..."
That's Retarded...
You play ball like a girl!
Things that are gay:
When you do something clumsy or that something is worthy of reproach, you remind me of a person who has an intellectual disability.
"That's so ghetto..."
You don't even act Black.
This language devalues the power and worth of women and girls.
I am devaluing part of your identity while at the same time boxing you into a stereotype of what it means to be Black.
Both what you're describing and, usually unintentionally, LGBT people are ineffective, annoying, and useless.
It's not the same thing as hate crimes or overt bigotry
(Both of which still happen everyday!)
There are 3 forms of microaggression.
What is microaggression?
"the brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual orientation, and religious slights and insults to the target person or group."
Actually, it is a big deal and it goes deeper than just words...
...You're making a
big deal out of nothing.
It causes significant long-term harm.
It's not good for the perpetrators, either.
Dr. Derald Wing Sue
Thank you!
Microaggression can be:
More conscious than the other forms
Intended to hurt, intimidate, make victim feel unwelcome/unworthy
For example:

*Using slurs
*Avoiding people
*Displaying offensive images
*Telling/laughing at bigoted jokes
Similar to overt bigotry, but only happens when it's "safe"
Not committed consciously
For example:
*"You're strong for a girl."
*Assuming Asian people are good at math
*Crossing the street/checking your wallet when you pass a Black man
*Assuming LGBT people are promiscuous
Invalidates and denies the realities and experiences of the victim and assumes that everyone's experiences are/should be the same.
For example:

*Asking an Asian or Latino person where they're from
*Denying that bigotry "still" exists/can make life difficult
*The "color-blind" mentality
Subtle, but has an insensitive hidden message that demeans a person's identity group
Not committed consciously
Microaggressions are more common than you may think!
Did that really just happen?
Should I respond?
Am I overreacting?
What are the negative consequences if I speak up?
Victims of microaggression often feel unsafe & not included

It wouldn't do any good, anyway.
I'm sure my friend wouldn't hurt me on purpose.
Am I a coward?
Can feel exhausted and depleted and class/work/relationships suffers
Victims are affected physically, cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally.
More at risk for illness and a decreased immune system
Microaggression contributes to serious anxiety and depression.
Not "bad" people; usually "good" people socialized by dominant culture.
A good person who has buried biases can experience warped reality, anxiety, & guilt.
Don't want to acknowledge it, so avoid/lie to themselves and others.

The Sandlot
Gay people
Gay bars/gay friendly places
Gay pride flags/events
Happy people
Things that are not gay:
Everything else
Women are unable to achieve at the same level as men, femininity is negative
Oreos are cookies, not people.
Every person experiences their ethnicity differently.
It enforces the stereotype that people with intellectual disabilities are less than or different from human.
"Mental retardation" used to be a medical term, but now its purpose is negative
For more info, check out
"Microaggressions in Everday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation"
by Dr. Derald Wing Sue.
Anything else?
Compiled by the Cultural Centers @ Rutgers University
Adapted from UMD Inclusive Language Campaign
There's a difference between
"Diverse" vs. "Inclusive"
Learn more at:
I am stereotyping and devaluing a person, item, or area based on my perceptions of the experiences of those who grew up in low-income neighborhoods
Center for Social Justice Education & LGBT Communities (socialjustice.rutgers.edu)

Test your internal stereotypes:
Asian American Cultural Center (aacc.rutgers.edu)
Center for Latino Arts & Culture (clac.rutgers.edu)
Paul Robeson Cultural Center (prcc.rutgers.edu)
But how do they play out in everyday interactions?
Microaggression is generally unintentional, and not hateful in intent. However, regardless of
, they still make an
What's the big deal?...
Just because we live in a diverse world does not mean we always feel included, and it's important to bring light to microaggressions. Check out how one group of students responded:

Many microaggressions are committed from a lack of understanding and/or making assumptions about an other's experience. Every year, the Cultural Centers hold a week of events that challenge the entire campus to educate, explore, and advocate around allyship!
Of course there are times when you need to simply reach out to a trusted staff or faculty member. You can also report instances of bias online confidentially.
Microaggressions against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Community includes both sexual orientation AND Gender Identity!

What does it even mean to "act white?"
Community comes in endless forms here at Rutgers, but the Cultural Centers a great place to start! All of our Centers are open to allies!

to enter into an alliance; join; unite
Every October!
Constantly being on the receiving end of microaggression can have a deep and negative impact on the experiences of your peers, and...
RU slam poetry team
It goes deeper than gender stereotyping!
Rape Jokes & analogies...
are NOT jokes at all
Full transcript