During a “Managing Microaggressions” event last Monday at the University of Virginia, students spoke out against microaggressions like identifying as “American” and criticizing someone’s taste in food.
The event, which was hosted by the Queer Student Union, was described as an opportunity for students to tell “stories of microaggressions they have experienced in their lives and [frame] them inside of the larger forces of their respective worlds, such as identity, culture, and others.”
A Hispanic student from the School of Education began by declaring that “I refuse to take up [the] identity” of “American” because “this country has decided to take it upon itself to identify as an entire hemisphere,” which he called “the most blatant microaggression in the context of this country.”
Instead of American, the student said he identifies as Latinx, queer, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and from Southern California. Later, recounting the time he told his mother he was queer, he noted her response of “I love you. Do you need to speak to a counselor?” “as if though my sexuality’s…some mental health problem that I had to deal with.”
The Hispanic student also took offense when people criticized his food taste, saying “don’t insult something that I like just because you don’t….My taste, whether it’s my orientation or my food are mine….You’re insulting the taste of the people that I grew up with…an entire subculture…an entire people that you don’t even know exist.”
“Please don’t tell me you wear those together” was another microaggression, reportedly suffered by female Hispanic student Hannah Melissa Borja, when a friend saw Borja in cow skin boots and a poncho her family had passed down to her.
During her speech, Borja called out her “closest friend,” Logan, who was in the audience and allegedly guilty of perpetrating the latest microaggression against her, recalling that before she went to an interview with a Latino law firm employee, Logan told her to “remember to use your best Spanish and don’t speak with an accent.” When Borja said “I can’t help my accent,” Logan responded “you know what I meant; don’t eat your ‘r’s or your ‘s’es.”
Speaking to the event’s attendees, Borja said “I do know what he meant…don’t talk like Puerto Rican, don’t be the stereotypical, Puerto Rican girl who has no business being in the professional world. Don’t be you, go home.”
Via Campus Reform