On Twitter, I asked a pro-protest Occidental College student to provide a definition of “microaggression.” He refused, instead sending a link to a PhD philosophy thesis on the subject. Repeat, a PhD philosophy thesis. The paper\’s definition:
“The overt nature of racism in the United States has morphed into an insidious, covert manifestation called racial microaggression. … Though not often intentional in nature, these microaggressive behaviors have become pervasive in the lives of people of color. … Extant research reveals the harmful and cumulative effects of racial microaggressions. … Much research has been done on people of color\’s experiences with racial microaggressions; however, few studies have given attention to why some African American college students are able to excel in microaggressive academic environments while others do not.” Oh.
The thesis\’s author conducted a study with 47 undergraduates, but only 35 completed the survey and were included in the data: “As a result of insignificant results, as well as predominantly male participants, secondary analyses were conducted based on demographic variables, which are salient for African American male college students.” Oh.
The paper\’s takeaway: “Results indicated that students\’ backgrounds impact how they handle microaggressive behaviors.” Seriously?!?