Microaggressions

Amanda Cook, Leah Bernhardt, Chris Feustel, Safiya Tonico

Professor Savonick

ENG 252

21 November 2019 

Image result for microaggression

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, microaggressions are sets of actions, words, or instances that cause for discrimination of a group of people, whether it be intentional, subtle, or indirect. There will always be microaggressions everywhere, whether a person is in school or work, and most people experience it. Microaggressions are commonly committed throughout society in today’s time; they are often seen being used against minorities and people of different backgrounds and cultures. On our class slides, microaggressions are defined as “The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based on marginalized group membership” ( Dr. Derald Wing Sue, Psychology Today). This includes racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and so much more. Microaggressions also lend a hand in creating stress and affect both a person’s mental and physical health when they are being discriminated against. According to the Center for Health Journal, “Research on microaggressions provides strong evidence that they lead to elevated levels of depression and trauma among minorities. In a sample of 405 students at an undergraduate university, depressive symptoms were the link in the relationship between racial microaggressions and thoughts of suicide”.  In addition to this, when conducting a study of Native Americans who have been diagnosed with diabetes, they have received “microaggressions from their health care providers. Among those sampled in the study, a correlation was found between microaggressions and self-reported histories of heart attack, depressive symptoms, and prior-year hospitalization.” The two different types of microaggressions are gender microaggressions and racial microaggressions. 

According to OED’s Etymology of microaggression, the term came around during the 1970s when the therapist produced the idea that different offensive mechanisms would be considered microaggression rather than different macro-aggression like lynching. Microaggression was discovered by Chester M. Pierce, who is a Harvard Psychiatrist in the 1970s, to describe racial put-downs that degrade physical health over a lifetime. “In 1973, Mary Rowe, an MIT economist, extended microaggression to include analogous aggression against women. Microaggression applies to any casual degradation of marginalized groups, such as disabled people, gender, and sexual minorities” (Sjwiki). Lots of people get targeted from microaggression, and it damages their self-esteem. 

Racial Microaggressions are common stereotypes reflected towards other races. An Example of Racial Microaggressions would be when A white man or woman clutches their purse or checks their wallet as a black or Latino man passes them (Psychology today). (Hidden message: You and your group are criminals.). Another example is when Asian Americans, born and raised in the United States, is complimented for speaking “good English.” (Hidden message: You are not a true American. You are a perpetual foreigner in your own country.) Lastly, when a black couple is seated at a table in the restaurant next to the kitchen despite there being other empty and more desirable tables located at the front. (Hidden message: You are a second-class citizen and undeserving of first-class treatment.)

Gender Microaggressions are commonly known stereotypes reflected towards women and men. Some examples of Gender microaggression are when an assertive female manager is labeled as a “bitch,” while her male counterpart is described as “a forceful leader” (Psychology Today). (Hidden message: Women should be passive and allow men to be the decision-makers) and a female physician wearing a stethoscope is mistaken as a nurse. (Hidden message: Women should occupy nurturing and not decision-making roles. Women are less capable than men). Another example is whistles or catcalls are heard from men as a woman walks down the street. (Hidden message: Your body/appearance is for the enjoyment of men. You are a sex object.)

Microaggressions can be tied into the book, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen. Whether it is racial microaggression or gender microaggression, it leaves a scar on the author. 

 Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, the African American family gets an insurance check for ten thousand dollars. Using the money, the family members want to use the money to accomplish their own dreams. Throughout the play, the characters are navigating both their dreams and what they plan on doing with the money. Throughout the play, there are different microaggressions occur that threaten the family’s ambitions. This is present when Karl Linder who is there realtor, makes it sure that Younger Family stays away from the new house. Linder states, “What do you think you are going to gain by moving into a neighborhood where you just aren’t wanted?” (103) They do not want African Americans near a white neighborhood. This is an example of racial microaggression. The location of the houses is for the high income people, not for African Americans,  in this case the Younger Family is low income people. African American people are being charged double the price of the house than white people; it makes it harder for them to purchase a house. According to the article, “Discrimination in Housing Against Nonwhites Persists Quietly, U.S. Study Finds”, the author Shaila Dewan explains how minorities have a harder time buying houses than whites. In a study that had 8,000 testers visited different homes to buy or rent, the results showed that “White testers were more frequently offered lower rents.” (1). Along with whites getting lower rent for houses, they were shown more houses and were quoted for a lower price than blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. This shows that its harder for the Younger family to move up in society and to buy an affordable home for the family to live in.  

Later on in the play, after the Younger family decides to move to Clybourne Park, they meet with Linder a white man. Linder makes a statement to the Younger family, saying that the community does not want the Younger family to live in Clybourne Park because they do not share any common interest. Linder says, “And at the moment, the overwhelming majority of our people out there feel that people get along better, take more of a common interest in the life of the community when they share a common background. I want you to believe me when I tell you that race prejudice simply doesn’t enter into it. It is a matter of the people of Clybourne Park believing, rightly or wrongly, as I say, that for the happiness of all concerned that our Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities.” (117-118). The Clybourne Park community doesn’t know any information about the Younger family. The community doesn’t know where the Younger family works, what they work on during their free time, or what their goals are. Without this information, the community can’t determine if the Younger Family still has any common interest with them. He says explicitly that it has nothing to do with “race and prejudice” as well as interest. This is a form of microaggression because Lindner is trying to prevent their Younger family from moving into the neighborhood due to the color of their skin. The Younger Family feels threatened by Linder, and Walter kicks him out of his home. Linder constantly says rude sayings that the Younger Family does not want to hear. This does not stop them from buying the house. They buy this house for themselves. Linder even pays the family money not to buy this house. The family does not take the offer to stay strong to show that Black lives matter. 

Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior has many examples of microaggressions, just based upon Kingston’s race and gender. The Woman Warrior can be seen as a coming of age story for Kingston because it is a memoir recounting her life and her experiences. When Kingston speaks to one of her elders, they end up saying, “Maggots! Where are my grandsons? I want grandsons! Give me grandsons! Maggots!” (Kingston, 191). Microaggression was derogatory. The maggots represents the granddaughters.  This shows gender microaggression because the author’s grandfather only wants grandsons and leaves his granddaughters out. Kingston’s elders are constantly being shown to commit gender microaggressions against her because she is a girl. And by calling Kingston a maggot, she is effectively being put down and devalued as a person, because she is being compared to a bug. 

In Citizen, by Claudia Rankine, microaggressions are used to convey the feeling of unsettlement and prove that racism is relevant today. An example of microaggression is shown when Rankine states, “And when the woman with multiple degrees says, I didn’t know black women could get cancer” (Citizen, 45). This shows racial microaggression because it discriminates against the author. This statement shows that even educated women believe in false stereotypes. Another example is when, “Dane Caroline Wozniacki, a former number-one player imitates Serena by stuffing towels in her top and shorts, all in good fun, at an exhibition match” (Citizen, 36). Dane thought it was funny to make fun of how Serena Williams’s body shape looks. This microaggression is making fun of somebody’s body figure. 

Along with the microaggressions shown in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, there are different types of microaggressions that exist. These microaggressions include gender and racial microaggressions. Microaggression has existed in society for a long period of time, and for that reason, it has been and continues to be incorporated in literature. By understanding the meaning of microaggression in literature, people can become knowledgeable when reading novels regarding microaggression. 

Work Cited

“DiscriminationWikipedia. 2 December 2019.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination

Gurba, Myriam. Mean. Coffee House Press. 2017. 

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York: Signet/NAL, 1988. Print.

 Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior; Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

Vintage International Edition, 1989.

Mayo Clinic. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mayoclinic.org 

Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric. Penguin, 2015.

Sjwiki. Mediawiki. Microaggressions. 11 December 2014.

http://www.sjwiki.org/wiki/Microaggression

 Sue, Derald Wing Ph.D. Microaggressions: More Than Just One Race. Psychology Today © 

2019 Sussex Publishers, LLC.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/microaggressions-in-everyday-life/201011/microaggressions-more-just-race

Torino, Gina. How racism and microaggressions lead to worse health. CENTER FOR HEALTH 

JOURNALISM MEMBER POSTS. 10 November 2017.

https://www.centerforhealthjournalism.org/2017/11/08/how-racism-and-microaggressions-lead-worse-health

YOU, ME AND THEM: EXPERIENCING DISCRIMINATION IN AMERICA.

Scientists Start To Tease Out The Subtler Ways Racism Hurts Health.

Heard on Weekend Edition Saturday November 11, 20178:07 AM ET.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/11/11/562623815/scientists-start-to-tease-out-the-subtler-ways-racism-hurts-health

YOU, ME AND THEM: EXPERIENCING DISCRIMINATION IN AMERICA

How Racism May Cause Black Mothers To Suffer The Death Of Their Infants

Heard on Morning Edition. December 20, 20175:01 AM ET.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/12/20/570777510/how-racism-may-cause-black-mothers-to-suffer-the-death-of-their-infants

Found Poem Shake that by Eminem and Nate Dogg- By Amanda Cook

This song is misogynistic. Eminem commands girls to shake their butt at the club. Eminem and Nate want sluts. They are looking for a girl that will do whatever they say. This shows how Eminem and Nate are degrading towards women. Nate calls girls retarted. They don’t care about love, they only want sex with sluts. This song makes women look and feel horrible. These girls are so drunk they do not know what is even going on. They do not know their surroundings. Eminem and Nate are very offensive to women. Eminem and Nate are very immature men. Nate died in 2011. 

Eminem does not respect women this is why he does not have a wife. He only stayed with his wife Kimberly Anne Scott for a year. Eminem’s real name is Marshall Bruce Mathers the third. He had a horrific childhood, he was abused and was poor (Eminem American Musician). “At age 14 he began rapping in clubs in Detroit, Michigan, and, when unexcused absences kept him in the ninth grade for the third year, he quit school, determined to make it in hip-hop music” (Eminem American Musician). He dropped out of school in the ninth grade, he does not have a proper education. He is very irresponsible he had excused absences and he quit school. 

Nate dogg had a wife. His wife is named LaToya Calvin. Nate Dogg has six children who are now adults. When Nate Dogg died, he did not leave a will. He was divorced by the time of his death (Shapiro). He did not pass anything down to his wife nor children. He is a selfish man, he had all this money he could have helped support his wife and kids. “Among the assets that will be split between the children is his real estate property in Pomona, CA that is valued at $350,000. However, $150,000 is still owed on the property so that only leaves $200,000. And even then there are substantial outstanding debts to the estate. One of those being medical bills from an Orange County facility that total nearly $300,000” (Shapiro). Nate Dogg did not pay his medical bills and he owed property bills as an adult he is not doing his job. This is another reason why his wife would divorce him. 

Work Cited

Shapiro, David. Los Angeles Estate Planning Attorney. Rapper Nate Dogg Died Without A Will.  Law. 25 July, 2012.

The Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Eminem American Musician. 13 October,   2019.

SHAKE THAT BY EMINEM AND NATE DOGG original lyrics

Shady, Aftermath

(Look at that bitch! Ha, yeah!)

There she goes shaking that ass on the floor

Bumpin’ and grindin’ that pole

The way she’s grindin’ that pole

I think I’m losing control

[Verse 1 – Eminem]

Get buzzed, get drunk, get crunked, get fucked up

Hit the strip club don’t forget ones get your dick rubbed

Get fucked, get sucked, get wasted, shit faceted

Pasted, blasted, puke, drink up, get a new drink

Hit the bathroom sink, throw up

Wipe your shoe clean, got a routine

Knowing still got a few chunks on your shoestring

Showing I was dehydrated till the beat vibrated

I was revibed as soon as this bitch gyrated

And hips and licked them lips and that was it

I had to get Nate Dogg here to sing some shit

[Verse 2 – Nate Dogg]

Two to the one from the one to the three

I like good pussy and I like good trees

Smoke so much weed you wouldn’t believe

And I get more ass than a toilet seat

Three to the one from the one to the three

I met a bad bitch last night in the D

Let me tell you how I made her leave with me

Conversation and Hennessy

I’ve been to the motherfucking mountain top

Heard motherfuckers talk, seen ’em drop

If I ain’t got a weapon I’ma pick up a rock

And when I bust yo ass I’m gonna continue to rock

Get your ass off the wall with your two left feet

It’s real easy just follow the beat

Don’t let that fine girl pass you by

Look real close cause strobe lights lie

[Verse 3 – Nate Dogg]

We ’bout to have a party (turn the music up)

Let’s get it started (go ‘head shake your butt)

I’m looking for a girl with a body and a sexy strut

Wanna get it popping baby step right up

Some girls they act retarded

Some girls are ’bout it ’bout it

I’m looking for a girl that will do whatever the fuck

I say every day she be giving it up

[Chorus – Nate Dogg]

Shake that ass for me, shake that ass for me

Come on, girl, shake that ass for me, shake that ass for me

Oh, girl, shake that ass for me, shake that ass for me

Come on, girl, shake that ass for me, shake that ass for me

[Verse 4 – Eminem]

I’m a menace, a dentist, an oral hygienist

Open your mouth for about four or five minutes

Take a little bit of this fluoride rinse

Swish but don’t spit it, swallow when I finish

Yeah me and Nate D-O double G

Looking for a couple bitches with some double Ds

Pop a little champagne and a couple Es

Slip it in her bubbly, we finna finna have a party

[Verse 5 – Nate Dogg]

Have a party (turn the music up)

Let’s get it started (go ‘head shake your butt)

I’m looking for a girl I can fuck in my hummer truck

Apple bottom jeans and a big ol’ butt

Some girls they act retarded

Some girls are ’bout it ’bout it

I want a bitch that sit at the crib with no panties on

Knows that she can but she won’t say no

Now look at this lady all in front of me, sexy as can be

Tonight I want a slut, would you be mine?

Heard you was freaky from a friend of mine

[Bridge – Eminem]

Now I hope you don’t get mad at me

But I told Nate you was a freak

He said he wants a slut, hope you don’t mind

I told him how you like it from behind

[Chorus – Nate Dogg]

Shake that ass for me, shake that ass for me

C’mon, girl, shake that ass for me, shake that ass for me

Oh, girl, shake that ass for me, shake that ass for me

C’mon, girl, shake that ass for me, shake that ass for me

We ’bout to have a party (turn the music up)

Let’s get it started (go ahead shake your butt)

I’m looking for a girl with a body and a sexy strut

Wanna get it poppin’ baby step right up

Some girls they act retarded

Some girls are ’bout it ’bout it

I’m looking for a girl that will do whatever the fuck

I say every day she be giving it up

[Outro – Eminem]

There she goes, shaking that ass on the floor

Bumping and grinding that pole

The way she’s grinding that pole

I think I’m losing control

God, come on

[Eminem makes noises]

I ain’t leavin’ without you bitch

Coming home with me

And my boy, and his boy, and his boy, and his girl

Ha ha, Nate Dogg

[Deep breathing]

African Slaves Thrown Overboard — Amanda Cook

The African slaves  in this book were treated like objects, where they would be thrown off overseas and it is normal. These enslaved people were being brought from Africa to Jamaica. The Zong crew threw the slaves off the boat because they were running low on water due to a navigational mistake. When the water became too low, the crew decided to throw slaves overboard into the sea. The author, M. NourbeSe Philip questions why this is not a crime. Why isn’t it the law? Slaves are property and can not be saved. Philip fights on how this should not be happening. Slaves were treated as property and animals not as human beings. 

In 1781, the author M. NourbeSe Philip revised the book Zong! He writes it in an unusual style. This is a form of a found poem. In this book the words are spread out, the words are repetitive and the stanzas do not make sense. The author makes this book unique on purpose for this book to stand out compared to all the other books. In order to understand this book you will have to read the end of the book, pages 189-211.It explains background information about the book. Honestly I was confused when I saw page 3. This is not a normal book. I had to think on a deeper level to read these readings.

The African slaves are spread out in the water thrown out overseas on the first page, the word “water” spread out represents the African Americans floating in the water (3). More than fifty people were thrown off. Slaves had a tough life, Philip states, “the more of of suffered did not exist sustenance water and want of dead” (12). Many African slaves drowned and nobody could save them.. These slaves are left lying dead on the bottom of the sea. More people had died over time. Philip wants the throwing slaves overboard to be illegal. 

In the slave ship there were African slaves that Zong departed the coast of Africa on September 6, 1781 with hundreds of slaves of slaves aboard. Due to the poor routes, many people were on the ship and spread diseases, sicknesses that were caused by deaths (Prezi). Zong’s owners declared to their insurers for the loss of the slaves. The insurers refused to pay, the court case Gregson vs Gilbert was held. The slave trade showed lots of horror and it was the mass killings of more than 130 African slaves by the crew of the British slave ship Zong. 

In 1783 was the Gregson vs Gilbert case. It  first started with James Gregson, the ship’s owner who filed an insurance claim for their loss. The Zong crew will not be getting any money. Gregson argued that Zong did not have enough water to sustain both crew and slaves. The insurance underwriter is Thomas Gilbert and it states that Zong had enough sustenance aboard when arriving to Jamaica.Therefore the first trial, freed slave Olaudah Equiana who brought news of the massacre to the attention of the anti-slavery campanigner Granville Sharp (Wikipedia). James Gregson did not let the Zong crew get away with this. Granville Sharp, worked horribly to have the ship’s crew proscuted for murder (Wikipedia). Granville Sharp was one of the first English campaigners for the abolition of the slave trade. Zong’s crew did not win on the first trial. The second trial, won with the insurers. The judge let the captain make a suitable allowance of water for each slave.

The captain of this ship is Luke Collingwood. He is a terrible human being who wants the slaves to die. Zong and his crew caused all the tragedies. He wants them to die a “natural death” (189). The Zong Crew are selfish, disturbing horrible people and they only care about their voyage. Philip questions, “the which, the when, the were, the who the throwing overboard” (15). It is not clearly stated who did it and when did it happen? Philips can not believe this is happening, this should stop. Philip shows humane throughout the book. 

Slaves are physically destroyed in the poems. Philips writes, “Slaves to the order in destroyed the circumstance in fact the property in subject in creature the loss in underwriter” (14). The insurance company found out about these people not killing the slaves, they did not pay for their claims. African Americans are destroyed, they are used as properties, and the underwriter is the safety of Africans. There was no safety. People were used, abused, hurt in such physical and emotional pain, nobody could forget this era. The slaves were malnourished and Zong Crew were ready for them to die. There is no hope for them. They were treated like animals not human (Umich). The Zong Crew does not know emotionally and physically to be thrown overseas. How can the Zong crew do this to the African slaves?

Discussion Questions:

  1. How did you feel while reading this unique book were you confused? 
  2. What were your reactions when you read that the African slaves were being thrown overboard? 

Work Cited

Philip, M. NourbeSe. Zong! Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT 06459, 2008. 

Zinnober9 Zong Massacre Wikipedia.

Prezi User Gregson vs Gilbert Prezi.23 September, 2016.


Ece. Umich. The Zong. University of Michigan.

Welcome

Hi my name is Amanda Cook I am a Sophomore. I graduated from Smithtown West in Long Island. My major is Spanish Adolescence Education. I look forward to getting to know everyone this semester.