Just when you thought all the possible microaggression scenarios humanly possible had been called out, more pop up.
The latest offensives to avoid come courtesy of The New School, a private university in New York City. It has published an extensive list of “microinsults,” “microassaults” and “microinvalidations” to avoid, including ones specific to academia, like this one:
“Seats in the classroom / auditorium / office are too small for many people.”
The declaration was highlighted by famed law Professor Jonathan Turley, who writes on his blog:
My problem with this new array of improper language and actions is that they are highly ambiguous and often depend on how they are received as opposed to how they are intended. There are valid concerns about language that insults or demeans others. However, microaggression rules are now being used to continue the crackdown on free speech on our campuses. What someone considers insulting can vary widely and the notion that students need to be actively protected from any slight can have an impact on the educational environment and mission.
The New School Issues Guide On Microaggressions, Including Use Of Small Seats Or Sitting Away From Homeless People https://t.co/VTKwkH3ohm
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) August 11, 2017
No one wants to appear insensitive or someone who has “microaggressed.” So, most faculty have remained silent as these nebulous rules are promulgated and enforced. As these rules spread, more and more language is being denounced as microaggressive and we now see the expansion of proscribed language into areas of “microinsults,” “microassaults,” and “microinvalidation.”
Additional “academic setting” micros on The New School’s list include “food sold in the cafeteria does not include options for those with limited food budgets,” “being called ‘overly sensitive’ when addressing a microaggression,” bathrooms and locker rooms labeled “Male or Female,” and “faculty and classmates do not ask for gender pronouns.”