Diversity talks to examine microaggressions

Diversity talks to examine microaggressions

In a few days, a new “Conversations on Diversity” event will once again take place, this time on Nov. 22, 2019.

These conversations have been sponsored by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) for several years. Maria Wong, associate professor of psychology, and Lauri Weiner, associate professor of counseling and human services, have co-chaired the discussions for the last two years.

The event is open to faculty, staff and students. The participants of the event will be talking about microaggressions — their definition and their impact on people’s lives. There will be small-group and large-group discussions about microaggressions, and previous sessions have also included some type of activity.

According to Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D., microaggressions are “everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.” These insults or insensitivities in the classroom can range from inappropriate humor, to sexist language, to a host of other slights.

Sue adds that “in many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment.”

The next session will take place on Friday, Nov. 22, from 2 – 3 p.m. in the Solve Center, located in the Manning Academic Center on Owings Mills North near the south entrance in section B.

Some of the topics discussed in the past include identity, personal experiences, privilege, and belonging.

The main goal of the event is to look at different topics related to diversity and inclusion, discuss how these topics have affected who we are, and explore how they may impact experiences at Stevenson University.     

Interested students can contact either of the professors directly. Both have offices in the Manning Academic Center; Wong is room N210 while Weiner is in room N117.