College Students: Asking About Gender Is Triggering

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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Virginia Tech students collaborated to create a list of fifty “microaggressions” that students have experienced.

Students groups such as the NAACP, Muslim Student Association and Jewish Student Union collected statements that students found triggering.

The resulting campaign, called “Microaggressions: #hokiesspeakup,” started in the spring semester. Posters are strewn throughout the campus to warn students about triggering statements.

Some examples of horridly offensive statements include:

  • Being called an “angry black woman” when speaking up in a stern voice or standing up for yourself
  • Professors making condescending remarks about your undergrad because it was an HBCU
  • I don’t understand why you can’t just be happy with your body
  • When white people claim to be “blacker than you” for knowing the words to a rap song
  • Are you a boy or a girl?
  • What’s your real name/gender?-One’s identity are what they say it is
  • When you think it’s humorous to ask me “How do you say taco in Spanish?”

Three posters remain in McBryde, one of the academic halls at the school. Posters in McBryde tell students not to say things like “All Jews are rich” or refer to fellow students as “spicy Latinas.”

Other colleges are claiming that simple statements are too triggering for students to hear.

Sheree Marlowe, the chief officer of diversity and inclusion at Clark University, lectured freshman students in September on microaggressions. The phrase “you guys” is a microaggression, as well as stating that hard work can make a person successful, according to Marlowe. (RELATED: Fancypants College: Equating Hard Work With Success And Saying ‘You Guys’ Are ‘Microaggressions’ Now)

Marlowe also informed freshman that asking Asian students about academics and black students if they like basketball are both forms of microaggressions.

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