University: Saying ‘Gender Plays No Part in Whom We Hire’ Is a ‘Microaggression’

(Photo: Kiosea39/Dreamstime)
And if you say it, you'll need a third-party intervention.

According to a document on Rowan University’s official website, saying that “gender plays no part in who we hire” is a microaggression, and you should intervene and correct people if you hear them saying it. 

The phrase is just one of many on the official “Tool: Interrupting Microaggressions” handout, which contains a list of microaggressions, a method for “Third Party Intervention,” and a “Communication Approach.” 

“Gender plays no part in who we hire” is listed as a “microaggression” under the subhead “Myth of Meritocracy.” The suggested way to intervene, according to the document, would be to say: “How might we examine our implicit bias to ensure that gender plays no part in this and we have a fair process? What do we need to be aware of?” (Because that’s a really normal way to talk.) 

Another example of a microaggression, according to the document, is to say to a black person, “Why do you have to be so loud/animated? Just calm down.” Now, the fact that that is actually being defined as a  “microaggression” seems pretty absurd to me. If anything, this anti-microaggressions guide seems like it is engaging in some microaggression itself by implicitly suggesting that only black people are inappropriately loud. I mean honestly — if someone were to say something like “Why are black people so loud?” then of course that would qualify as being racially offensive, but how can making a race-neutral statement telling someone to “calm down” be considered racist? Should no one ever tell anyone who is not white to “calm down,” no matter the situation, for fear of being branded a bigot? 

Well, if you hear someone telling a person who happens to be black to “calm down,” you should intervene, the guide advises, and say: “It appears you were uncomfortable when ___said that. I’m thinking that there are many styles to express ourselves. How we can honor all styles of expression — can we talk about that?”

Here’s the thing, though: Could you imagine someone actually doing that? I don’t know about you, but if someone ever felt the need to interrupt one of my conversations to babble on about how he was “thinking that there are many styles to express ourselves,” I’d have a hard time deciding between giving him the stink-eye and asking him if he needed medical attention because he was acting so erratically. 

This story was previously covered in an article at Campus Reform


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