Jonathan Kanter published a study finding that students who deliver microaggressions are also likely to harbor racist attitudes.
Insensitive or Racist?
Study finds that students who deliver microaggressions are also likely to harbor racist attitudes.
By Nick Roll
What makes someone racist? Is what they say at all indicative of that, or can it be brushed away as a one-off mistake or misperception?
Take, for example, the 2016 presidential election, where leaders from both sides struggled to call Donald Trump an outright racist, even if they insisted some of his remarks were.
“I’m not saying what’s in his heart because I don’t know what is in his heart, and I don’t think he feels that in his heart,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said after Donald Trump attacked an American-born judge of Mexican heritage for harboring a supposed bias against him, based on that heritage. “But I don’t think it is wise or justifiable to suggest that a person should be disqualified from their job because of their ethnicity.”
While Trump’s comments on the judge were overtly racist -- with Ryan, a member of Trump’s party, calling them the “textbook definition of a racist comment” -- assessing whether someone is personally “actually racist” has proved to be almost impossible. Much of the same thinking goes into the way critics debate the substance of microaggressions, the subtle remarks that people of color find offensive but that might be delivered without intentional malice. Even if a microaggression is racist -- which is often up for debate itself -- critics often say the person delivering it isn’t, and those offended by it are being too sensitive.
But a new study backs up those who speak out against microaggressions and questions the attitudes of the people that deliver them.
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