Racist microaggressions have a big impact on campus
Racism – defined as a display of hatred and discomfort with those one considers inferior to them simply based on race – is commonly considered blatant. But what people often forget is that many times, racism is present in a look or a remark that can seem insignificant until you stop and think about it. Like when students or even professors assume brown people must be from a different country, as opposed to America. Small forms of racism permeate the daily lives of people of color – like mine as a Latinx – and can be found in actions that some might not have even considered before.
It’s essential for everybody in our community to condemn all types of racism, not just the bold moves that can make the University look bad. While everyone was quick to talk about the racist Snapchat post that spread across campus, less obvious acts of racism tend to go unnoticed. Racial microaggressions are everyday actions that are hurtful and based on prejudices. These include instances of racism that are more subtle, yet equally – if not even more – hurtful. It’s vital for bystanders to be able to spot when these instances happen and intervene, and for students and the University to have a strong no-discrimination-allowed policy. If our campus is to be a welcoming space for everybody, then discrimination has no place here.
Unfortunately, I experienced this subtle racism from my professor in my University Writing class this semester. For my essay topic, I wanted to write about Tejano music. When consulting with me about my topic, he stated that the musicians from low socio-economic and unfinished education backgrounds that I wanted to write about were “just like your family.” I hadn’t mentioned my family, yet my professor believed it was correct to make that connection. Maybe it was because the music we were talking about was Tejano music – popular music among Mexican-Americans in southern Texas – and he saw my name, Velazquez, and assumed I was Mexican-American.