At the Claremont colleges, we often talk about microaggressions, and we put on workshops and talks to combat these subtle mechanisms of oppression that manifest themselves in speech, body language and discourse. It is sometimes disheartening, then, when not only microaggressions but macroaggressions occur. It sometimes makes one question the productivity of holding programming to combat microaggressions and increase awareness that only a few attend, often those who are already marginalized, when we still encounter racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and classism on campus.
Throughout the semester, I have faced huge two macroaggression ordeals that were about racism. One was with my apartment mate, and one was in class, but both were traumatizing, discouraging, and appalling.
Although the two situations differed in nature, content, and duration, I was able to deal with them. I called my apartment-mate out immediately and have since put a lot of distance between us. I have not apologized for getting upset, which is something I often feel the need to do. As for the incident in class, I reported it immediately to CMC administration, and I have been standing up for my progressive beliefs in class.
Something that I realized is that I could not have responded proactively and assertively to either situation if I had not taken part in all of the programming that I have on campus over the past three years dealing with raising awareness about minority issues. Three years ago, I would not have known how to name the problems or how to call people out. Three years ago, I would not have known what a microaggression was, or what a macroaggression could constitute.
For this reason I am grateful to have attended and put on progressive programming over the past few years. These programs not only seek to prevent micro and macroaggressions, but they arm people with tactics and words with which they can stand up for themselves.