According to a Princeton University student, joking about the way he pronounces “Cool Whip” is a microaggression, and microaggressions are very serious because they cause binge drinking.
In a column for The Daily Princetonian, Tennessee freshman Newby Parton explains that he is from an area where people pronounce their “wh” sounds “hw,” and that this has caused hardship in his life — such as having to endure people asking him to say “Cool Whip”:
“I’ll say ‘Cool Whip.’ They’ll repeat it back to me with exaggerated emphasis on the /h/. I’ve been pulled into this conversation several times now, and each time I grow a bit more self-conscious.”
Parton wrote that he eventually decided he could no longer stay silent about this injustice, and finally said something to a friend who had “put [him] through the ‘Cool Whip’ routine.”
“I waited awhile and texted her this: ‘Making fun of regional speech is a microaggression,’” he wrote.
It was obviously very brave of Parton to stand up against oppression via text message — but his friend didn’t even say she was sorry for her brutal insensitivity!
“There came no apology or retraction,” he wrote.
According to Parton, that jerk of a friend merely told him to post his complaint on “Tiger Microaggressions,” which is the name of a Facebook page where Princeton students can report any microaggressions they experience on campus.
Obviously, Parton must have been really hurt, perhaps even more hurt than when people ask him to say “Cool Whip.” But because he’s a really sensitive guy, he did not “blame her one bit” for not understanding.
In fact, he said her callous response made him realize that he might have committed a microaggression against another person at some time in his life without even realizing he was doing it!
“I am afraid because microaggressions aren’t harmless — there’s research to show that they cause anxiety and binge drinking among the minority students who are targeted,” he wrote.
Parton ends his column with a plea to readers to “send me a message if I have ever hurt your feelings. I will do what I can to make it up to you.”
It is unclear whether or not he is also accepting letters from those who may have been driven to binge drinking by reading his column.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.