My first post is a long read and if you haven’t gotten a time to read it I will summarize it in this post. If you do want to read the post you can find it here. My original post introduces the idea of racial microaggressions. Racial microaggressions are racist things said or done that are rarely meant to be offensive. After introducing what they are I present and explain statistics showing how they affect individual people. These statistics come from a variety of sources that are all on my annotated bibliography found here.
Since my first post, I have interviewed six individuals and added two new sources to my annotated bibliography. I am going to breakdown the basic information given in each interview.
Horace Ryans is a sophomore and student advocate at Science Leadership Academy in Center City. The interview. The first question is “Have you seen any racial microaggressions in the SLA community?” His response is saying that racial microaggressions happen all the time. His example was normalization of the N-word. This gives insight into racial microaggressions in the SLA community and what students think about them and if they notice them. The next question was have you experienced any microaggressions personally? His example was in freshman year in African American History class people made jokes such as “slavery was not wrong.” The third question was do you think these microaggressions are common? He says that yes they are common in SLA, but only because they are common in the real world. The fourth question was have you reported these aggressions to any form of authority. He says no. The follow up question was does he regret not reporting these. His response is that he is using these experiences to learn and better himself as a person. The next question was what can be done to help stop racial microaggressions and he responded by saying was you always need to educate and advocate. He also said you cannot change someone mentality, but you can always educate them. The next question was how do you think the administration can help stop racial microaggressions in the SLA community. He says SLA is a community where students can take a problem and attempt to fix it themselves without the help of a teacher. He also says that teachers can be there to facilitate a conversation. This interview tells me that Horace has seen and experienced racial microaggressions, but he uses them to improve himself as a person instead of trying to get an adult to punish the student.
Londyn Edwards was the second person I interviewed. The questions and answers were typed out and they can be found here. The questions are the same as before. Londyn describes microaggressions that are much more personal. She describes when a classmate was discussing whether white people or black people get colder faster. When Londyn attempted to share her opinion the classmate responded with, “Well you’re closer to white anyways so your opinion doesn’t count.” This classmate was clearly talking about her lighter skin tone. This situation is a great example of what a racial microaggression is and why they need to be talked about. She has not reported the aggressions to any authority because they all happened with different people. She also says that she often questions the actions of non people of color in SLA. She then says she wants a gathering of the school to educate students on what racial microaggressions are why they are a problem. This is similar to what Horace said in his interview.
The next person I interviewed was Deacon Mackin, found here. Deacon is a student at SLA center city and a freelance artist. He has seen racial microaggressions in the SLA community and the worst has been the use of fake statistics to prove a point. Like one student claimed that mass incarceration is a myth. He says he has not experienced racial microaggressions in the SLA community because he is white, but he has witnessed a lot of racial microaggressions in the community. His example is one of his black friends were asked what it is like to live without a father even though he has a dad that he lives with. The aggressor then made a fake statistic that most African Americans do not have a father at home. Deacon believes that these aggressions are common in the community. He thinks students can fight against these aggressions and call people out about these aggressions. He thinks that when aggressions are reported that the administration of the school acts well on the problem. So far all my interviews have led to very similar data. They all believe that microaggressions are a problem and that they need to be stopped in some way. Deacon is the only person so far to say fight against the aggressors instead of educate the aggressors.
My fourth interview is with Zoey Tweh, found here. I recommend listening to this interview if you only listen to one. It is the most insightful interview. Zoey is a junior at SLA center city and is also the president of the Black Student Union of SLA center city. Zoey says she has seen microaggressions. She is the first to mention the diversity of SLA and the intentional diversity of the school. She also says that since there is a lot of diversity there is also a lot of diversity in perspectives. She gives an example that some students believe that police brutality is not real. She says that she has not personally been attacked by a racial microaggression, but she has been offended by someone's lack of open mindedness. Zoey says she doesn’t tell teachers or staff about racial microaggressions, but she does ask for these topics to be brought up in class or discussed in class in some way. She says that SLA students often have difficult conversations and talk about problems with race and that's how you can stop racial microaggressions. Zoey also says that if the administration continues to strive towards having discussions about racism in class then they are doing a good job.
My final interview was with Ella Burrows and Kaamil Jones. Two seniors from SLA center city campus. Kaamil says social media is a major part of racial microaggressions. His example was in freshman year Harriet Tubman was proposed to be on the twenty dollar bill and a student said on social media “Harriet Tubman doesn’t belong on the twenty dollar bill she belongs ironing my clothes.” Ella agrees that social media plays a major part. She adds that outside the classroom racially insensitive comments are made. Kaamil says he has never experienced a racial microaggression in SLA. Ella says she has experienced racial microaggressions at SLA like “it’s cause she’s white.” She says she has never taken offense to the comments. Kaamil says that they are common, but they are rarely meant to be harmful. He says this is because people become too comfortable with what they say. Ella agrees that when people get too comfortable they say things that are not appropriate. Neither of them have reported anything to any administration at the school. Kaamil wants people to have a conversation about race to try to understand other people's perspectives. Ella agrees that conversations have to be had. They both say that many people do not like talking about race and that is a problem. They agree that the SLA administration does a great job with handling these topics by trying to get the students to have these conversations. This interview talks the most about why racial microaggressions occur. This is another interview that I think is great to listen to.
All these interviews have told me that racial microaggressions are common in the SLA community, but most common on social media. Most agree that a conversation is the best way to stop racial microaggressions. They all agree that the school administration does a good job handling race by having conversations.
The final part of this project is to make some change about my topic. Since most of the people I interviewed agree that conversation is the best way to stop racial microaggressions I will attempt to start multiple conversations in the community about race. I will add more to this idea when I get a firmer grasp on my idea.