Microagressions, microassaults, microinsults, microinvalidations : Macroinsanity

“Can we all get along?,” Rodney King said during the 1992 L.A. riots.

Apparently not.

As Voltaire said, “Common sense is not so common.” An increasing number of us seem determined to take offense at just about anything.

The New York times reported today (http://nyti.ms/1pmYMbO) that college students are seeing many slights as “Microaggressions”, the “social justice word du jour” for subtle offenses.

The Times raised the question of whether the issues raised in connection with the word are “a useful way of bringing to light often elusive slights in a world where overt prejudice is seldom tolerated, or a new form of divisive hypersensitivity, in which casual remarks are blown out of proportion.”

It all reminds me of a program a former employer of mine insisted all employees attend called “MicroInequities”. Stephen Young, former Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at JP Morgan Chase and Co-Founder of a management and consulting firm called Insight Education Systems, delivered the program, essentially telling all of us that dozens of things we said every day were offending somebody in the workplace.

To say the least there was a lot of eye rolling in the audience, with many commenting afterward that Young was taking things to an extreme, almost advocating that people take offense at the smallest perceived slights.

I’m with Harry Stein, at City Journal, who said that while most people feel unjustly treated at times, “most such supposed insults are slight or inadvertent, and even most of those that aren’t might be readily shrugged off.”

He also challenged the concept of “microaggressions”. Use of the term “suggests a more serious problem: the impulse to exaggerate the meaning of such encounters in the interest of perpetually seeing oneself as a victim,” he said.


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