If you have spent any time on a college campus, you have probably faced the term “microaggressions.” Microaggressions are remarks perceived as racist, sexist, or otherwise perceived as offensive to a marginalized social group. In the past year alone, campus social activists have rioted and protested in the name of this idea, demanding massive reforms from their schools and institutions.
Recently, Derald Wing Sue, the professor that co-published the document “Racial Microaggressions in Every Day Life” has come out with some serious criticisms of what the term has become. Professor Sue always intended his research to be used as educational above all else. He said in his interview, “I was concerned that people who use these examples would take out of context and use them as a punitive.”
Looking back on the past year, we can not deny that Mr. Sue’s research has been used way out of the bounds in which it was initially meant to be utilized.
Mr. Sue himself said that his research is not an absolute. His publication was merely intended to draw attention to an issue. The research, while meant to illuminate the various positions we all bring to discussion through our differing paths of life, actually led to legitimate threats to free speech.
Major problems arise when we take this type of research out of context, giving it more power than it is meant to hold. The idea of “microaggressions” was never meant to be weaponized to shut down those opposing the political left’s agenda, and many individuals and groups have given misguided recognition to this “microaggressions” research.
Instead of encouraging discussion and reflection, the left’s response to this research has shut down conversations and threatened the right to free speech on college campuses.
If we can move past the excessive presence of victimhood culture on college campuses, real issues can addressed. A new focus can be placed on the open exchange of ideas, creating hope for the goals and future of both academia and society.