Brown University has launched a “Racial Microaggressions and Microaffirmations” exhibit, which students can visit in order to learn how many of their everyday comments are actually racist and harmful to society.
The exhibit is made up of pictures of students, faculty, and other community members holding whiteboards of sayings that have hurt them, such as “Where are you really from?”
Tricia Rose, the director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, which houses the exhibit, said these displays serve an important purpose.
“They serve as a powerful window on the casual but painful, ongoing and sometimes shocking ways that discriminatory and hurtful speech perpetuates societal inequalities, conflict and disrespect,” Rose told the Brown Daily Herald, the official school newspaper.
In light of how serious these problems are, the exhibit will not be the school’s only effort to combat them, but just “the beginning of a larger process of awareness and the expansion of anti-racist communication and connection,” Rose said.
The exhibit will also contain examples of “microaffirmations,” which, the Herald explains, are the positive version of microagressions.
“Racial Microaggressions and Microaffirmations” opened on Thursday, and will be open through the end of the semester.
Brown was recently ranked the worst Ivy League university by U.S. News and World Report, particularly due to low scores in the financial-resources category.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.