I observed a microagression display this week during one meeting by the same person. This assignment was not as simple as I thought because I wanted be as objective as possible and give people the benefit of the doubt without jumping to conclusions or reading more into a comment or behavior than what ought to be.
Prior to our weekly meeting we were just sitting around talking and joking, taking a brain break in a sense. One of the Black teachers described an incident with a parent who had gotten upset and became rude and short in her speech. A comment was made from a White teacher that stated, “Yeah, they always get upset.” We all got quiet and went on speaking about something else. Now during this same meeting, the same teacher jokingly called another colleague a blonde based on the questions she was asking. I looked around the room and all the White teachers were blondes. I saw them put their heads down in embarrassment and one teacher did speak up, that teacher responded with an apology.
I do not think this was intentionally done. I think the first was display of racial micro- aggression and the other was another form of classifying someone in a group and degrading them because of, in this case, their hair color.
Although I felt that there was very little discrimination going on daily, I did not realize how often microaggressions are happening. I observed and took notes during our meeting which lasted three hours and found two outright cases…what would happen if I observed for a whole day?
Here is the scenario we were charged to tackle during week 2 of our class: A major catastrophe has almost completely devastated the infrastructure of your country. The emergency government has decided that the surviving citizens will be best served if they are evacuated to other countries willing to take refugees. You and your immediate family are among the survivors of this catastrophic event. However, you have absolutely no input into the final destination or in any other evacuation details. You are told that your host country’s culture is completely different from your own, and that you might have to stay there permanently. You are further told that, in addition to one change of clothes, you can only take 3 small items with you. You decide to take three items that you hold dear and that represent your family culture.
The three items I would take are: a Bible, a flash drive/ cd’s with family photos and a family cookbook.
The Bible is what our family has built its values from so this guide is important. The flash drive and cds hold many photos and videos of family outings, reunions and old photos of my great grandmother. The last item, a family cookbook, has traveled through two generations with handwriting and notes from both my grandmother and mother. This cookbook has many of our family favorites and originals like the family dream tart.
If I had to choose only oneto take it would be the Bible since the foundation of our family was built on biblical principles.
What I’m noticing is that we don’t have many artifacts as family. Much of what have are stories and memories.
For the assignment this week two relatives and one of my co-workers (not of the same race as I) shared their insights of culture and diversity.
– Tracy: Culture is the world in which we ourselves live in. It could be your family or friends or just the group you have chosen to associate yourself with. Diversity to me is simply being different.
-Duwayne: Culture is our heritage. Although we are African-American, the way I see it, we don’t know Africa but we know Black America so it is who we are as Blacks in America which could be different from state to state and city to city. Diversity is embracing others.
– Hursel: Culture is our traditions and values that we share with our family. Diversity is understanding that everyone is not the same.
I think overall, the definitions touched on the deep aspects of culture (Derman-Sparks & Olsen-Edwards, 2010). They also spoke to being part of a group in which they operate (Derman-Sparks & Olsen-Edwards, 2010).
Aspects that were omitted may have been have other cultures view them and how they connect or not to the dominant culture.
Thinking about others definitions and our readings so far has helped me to broaden my own definition and view about culture and diversity. My definition was boxed and really included traditions and values of my own family. It has now expanded to include groups other than my blood relatives.