Mizzou: Telling Disabled People They’re ‘Inspiring’ Is a Microaggression

Someone had better tell the Special Olympics.

According to materials distributed by the University of Missouri Diversity Office, saying “you people are so inspiring” in reference to disabled people is not nice, but actually a microaggression.

The piece of advice is one of many included on a handout titled “Racial Microaggressions in Every Day (sic) Life,” which is available on an official school web page.

According to the handout, declaring that you consider people with disabilities to be “inspiring” is a problem because it amounts to “patronization.” Interestingly enough, the Special Olympics includes a link to subscribe to e-mails of “inspiring stories” on its website — which must mean that the supposedly charitable organization is actually just one giant, offensive microaggression.

Personally, I always considered it pretty normal to be inspired by people who are able to overcome difficulties of any kind — be they physical, mental, socioeconomic, or anything else — but I guess not. Thanks to Mizzou, I can see that this is actually very wrong, and that I am in fact a big jerk.  

Among the list of sexist “microaggressions” on the handout is the fact that women aren’t asked as often as men are to help move boxes around the office. Of course, statistically and scientifically, men more often are physically stronger than women — but I guess science and facts don’t matter when discussing microaggressions. (Note: One of my favorite things about being a woman is that no one asks me to move boxes.) 

#related#The racial microaggressions include “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” and “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough,” because saying these things amounts to saying that “race does not play a role in life’s successes.”

According to an article in Campus Reform, “the handout was adapted from the books Microaggressions and Marginality: Manifestations, Dynamics, and Impact and Microaggressions In Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation, both by Dr. Derald Wing Sue.


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