News and Commentary

Leaked Univ. Utah Diversity Session: Even Well-Received Compliments Now Microaggressions

Facilitators of woke seminar encourage participants to think carefully about every word they say, interrogate common phrases for offensive history

   DailyWire.com
Asian woman blindfold wrapping mouth with red adhesive tape on black background. Freedom speech censorship and stop talk, International Human Right day (Asian woman blindfold wrapping mouth with red adhesive tape on black background. Freedom speech ce
Sorapop Udomsri/EyeEm/Getty Images

A staff member at the University of Utah reached out to me this week with a recording from a recent staff training on “microaggressions.” Immediately, I popped on my headphones, as few things delight me more than being a fly on the wall in other people’s unhinged diversity sessions. 

For those still blissfully unacquainted, Merriam Webster defines “microaggression” as a “comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority).” 

On its face, the concept isn’t outrageous. Most people recognize that bigotry occurs in subtle interactions which often aren’t readily apparent to the perpetrator. Classic examples include the white suburban mom clutching her purse more tightly when a black man walks by, or the insistence, by educated whites, that black Americans are less capable of meeting mundane societal expectations than are white Americans. The former example betrays an assumption that black men are a criminal threat, the latter a patronizing assumption about black Americans’ cognitive abilities and/or character. Small acts of bigotry add up, and they do make a difference over time. 

However, these were not the types of microaggressions that staff at the University of Utah were primarily presented with in this bizarre 90-minute session. Rather, participants were instructed that a comment or action can be considered a “microaggression” even if it is well-intended, well-received, and causes no apparent harm. 

It was stressed by one facilitator that even a genuine compliment can be a microaggression, even if the recipient was flattered by it, as long as the compliment in some way “reinforces” the “systems of power” (which, of course, remain perpetually nebulous and strategically undefined). For example, phrases like “You’re so smart for 15!” and “Wow, you look great for your age!” were touted as two obvious examples of microaggressions (presumably because they reinforce the stodgy, outdated, and hateful notion that young people are both more beautiful and more naive than elders). 

It was at this point in the presentation that one female participant chimed in: “People tell me I’m too successful to be so young” and “too ambitious.” “It’s like, you can’t be 26 years old and that well-spoken,” she lamented. “It’s like, thanks,”  she added, sarcastically, “So that really hit home for me.” 

“And how did that make you feel? What do you think the subtext was?” the facilitator probed. It turned out that the participant was also a redhead, which was “hard.”

I got the impression that diversity trainings might be a little blander in Utah. 

Regardless, the wonder of Critical Race Theory (CRT), which is the academic theory from which all wokeness springs, is that it can train soft minds to successfully manufacture grievance from any human interaction. And that is the explicitly stated goal of all critical theories, to stir discontent with the goal of activating pawns in a revolution. Contentedness is the enemy of revolution, so people must be trained out of it. 

They also must be trained to be pathologically nervous about aggrieving others. 

Phrases such as “What is your spirit animal?” and “That movie was lame” flashed across the screen as participants pondered their implied complicity in silence. One slide said “Those people are crazy!” Another said “I’m having a senior moment.” One image was simply a photo of a sign that said “Boys” and “Girls” with arrows pointing in opposite directions, presumably to a pair of restrooms. 

No explanations were given at any point, except for a passing reference to ableism, which allowed me to extrapolate that “lame” and “crazy” were being considered “identity groups,” presumably by way of medical diagnosis. 

Participants were encouraged to “not take it personally” if they were guilty of these offenses in the past, but rather to use those “feelings of vulnerability” as a learning opportunity. “If you catch yourself [pushing back against being corrected], remind yourself it’s not about me, it’s about bias and power.”

Participants were also coached on how to react when they do offend someone. 

“One thing I’ve learned,” advised a facilitator, “is to avoid over-apologizing…Who am I doing that for? I’m wanting to make myself feel better…at their expense, I want them to tell me oh ‘it’s ok no big deal.’” Rather, “It’s important to just listen, don’t expect them to educate us.” The appropriate length of apology for a microaggression is approximately “30 seconds,” according to this diversity expert. 

After the slide show, participants discussed words and phrases they no longer use due to problematic etymology. 

“I used to use the phrase ‘gyp’ all the time…I didn’t realize it was about gypsies!” 

“Oh yeah, I used to say gyp too.”

The group bonded over their guilt about using the word “gyp,” which they agreed reinforced the marginalization of gypsies. 

“One strategy I use now,” added the facilitator, who also confessed to marginalizing gypsies in the past, “if there’s a phrase [that] I’ve been using forever, that I’ve never stopped to think about…that’s gonna be a red flag.” She continued, “I’m going to stop to think about it, and I’m going to look it up.” 

This level of paranoia is justified, she argued, because “sometimes when I look it up, I realize there’s this whole history, and it’s reinforcing stereotypes, and when we’re reinforcing stereotypes, that has an impact on things like systemic power.” 

I’m reminded of a classic quote by Ibram X. Kendi in “How to Be an Antiracist”: “Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.” 

As I’ve discussed in past articles about woke indoctrination, when you’re caught up in constant self-examination and self-criticism, you’re not able to critically evaluate the truth of what you’re being told. That is by design. 

Lastly, a handout about microaggressions distributed to the group revealed another, and more insidious, meaning to “microaggression” that wasn’t accounted for by either Merriam Webster or the diversity facilitator. Apparently, it is actively microaggressive to affirm traditional American values and beliefs, especially those which directly undermine Critical Theory. 

For example, “America is a melting pot,” “there is only one race, the human race,” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” were listed as common microaggressions. A column on the far right of the document explained the real coded messages behind each of these microaggressive phrases, which included wildly presumptuous phrases like “people of color are lazy or incompetent and need to work harder” and a presumed directive to “assimilate to the dominant culture.” 

Through courses like these, diversity instructors are training soft minds to associate almost all aspects of language, as well as affirmations about foundational american ideals, with bigotry. Worse, the thought leaders behind it are making millions off the charade. It’s a sham, and does nothing to address the actual racism permeating society, often making it worse, all while under the guise of so-called “diversity” and “inclusion”. It’s past time for us to wake up and tell the Emperor he has no clothes. 

***

This article is part of my ongoing effort to expose radical ideology in education and other institutions. Please send me stories from your community to ghowe@dailywire.com or find me on IG @georgiamaehowe

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.