During the 2014 Spring Quarter I was the Instructor of the course GWSS 300: Gender, Race, and Class in Social Stratification. When lecturing about microagressions, various students suggested doing an activity addressing the different ways they have experienced microagressions with the intention to create awareness in the University of Washington. We decided to collaborate together and organized the activity #UWVOICES. This was a great example to explore how feminist praxis complements the feminist classrom.
The following is the statement we wrote collectively:
A GWSS 300 Microagressions Project
June 4th, 2014 - 2014 Spring Quarter
University of Washington
Based on the critical analysis that we, the GWSS 300 students, developed throughout the 2014 Spring Quarter, we had the initiative to do a microagressions project for our last class on June 4th, 2013. We created several posters that expressed the experiences we have had related to microagressions. The purpose is to eradicate stereotypes and practice the theory we learned throughout the quarter.
Inspired by the Microagressions Project Tumblr and others like #itooamharvard and #NOLONGERINVISIBLE, we presented the #uwvoices project as an act of visibility and awareness.
According to the Microagressions project, for example, their Tumblr “is about showing how these comments create and enforce uncomfortable, violent and unsafe realities onto peoples’ workplace, home, school, childhood/adolescence/adulthood, and public transportation/space environments” and “NOT about showing how ignorant people can be in order to simply dismiss their ignorance.” This was what inspired our project as we aspire for a better campus where the dignity of all students is honored and respected. The following is the definition of microagressions used by the Microagressions Project:
“Racial microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.” – Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life
We decided to open up this definition to other identities--as the Microagressions Project did--to include not only to race, but also to gender, class, (dis)abilities, among others. It is our hope that whoever sees these pictures will start recognizing that ALL human beings are worth it and deserve respect.
Finally, we want to acknowledge that his project was possible thanks to the great support of the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies and Dr. Sasha Welland.