Take cover! Oncoming invisible microaggressions are heading your way

Image shows: Explosives and IED components being destroyed by members from the Counter IED task force on day two of Op TOR SHEZADA.

[…] In a recent study, two professors discovered a phenomenon they are calling “invisibility microaggressions,” which occur when there are very few minorities in a given situation, even when nobody has personally offended anyone else.

To combat this new type of microaggression, they suggest deliberately honoring women of color with high-profile awards and requiring “multicultural competency” trainings for university staff.

Two professors recently discovered that there are five different types of “invisibility microaggressions” women of color face.
Jasmine Mena, a Psychology professor at Bucknell University, and Annemarie Vaccaro, who teaches Higher Education at the University of Rhode Island, claim they are the first academics to argue that “invisibility” is a “common form of microaggression” experienced by professors of color.[…]

I am not sure that the honour of being the first academic to make such a claim is one to be coveted.

[…] “There is a growing body of literature that suggests invisibility is a common form of exclusion—or microaggression,” Mena and Vaccaro suggest. “However, no studies have focused deeply on the ways women faculty and staff experience invisibility microaggressions on college campuses”[…]

But for all you mockers and scoffers, there is historical precedent for “invisibility microaggressions”. Nearly 100 years ago, in 1922, Hughes Mearns first documented an “invisibility microaggression” and I quote:

“Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away…”

I am confident that the “growing body of literature” will build upon the work of Mearns in a similarly robust and honest manner.

[…] To remedy a lack of research on the topic, Vaccaro and Mena interviewed 13 women of color working at “predominantly white institutions,” the majority of whom were heterosexual and middle-aged. From their research, they discovered that there are five types of “invisibility microaggressions,” three of which are “environmental,” while two are “interpersonal.”[…]

A study of 13 women somehow remedied a lack of research.  Surely a study with 13 subjects IS a lack of research?

[…] According to their study, which was published in the NASPA Journal About Women In Higher Education, the three environmental microaggressions that women of color face relate to their “invisibility” on campus, in disciplinary/professional settings, and in their local communities, because they are “among the few, or only” people of color in each context.

Interpersonal invisibility microaggressions, on the other hand, involve what they call “professional and leadership invisibility,” both of which hinder women of color in their “everyday work roles.”

Of the five, the most common was “campus invisibility,” which many faculty of color experienced as one of the few racial minorities on campus.

“I feel invisible…not always…but as sort of a day-to-day thing,” said Xiomara, one the 18 participants in the study, adding, “I just feel like I can go days without seeing another person of color.”[…]

Ummm, …. one of the 18 participants in the study of 13 women ….??? (Oh, I see; there are five types of “invisibility microaggressions,” so 13 women plus 5 types of invisibility equals 18 participants.  Right, OK, got it – moving on….)


This post was written by Intern Staff


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