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Micro Aggression

Contact Information

Elizabeth Kim
Phone: (262) 472-1269
Location: Andersen 2115

Micro Aggression

Microaggressions: A Virtual Student Panel

In late August 2014, six UW-Whitewater students were invited to record their experiences with microaggressions in UW-Whitewater classrooms and the broader community. Each was asked to reflect on three questions:

  1. What microaggressions committed by your peers, or by faculty, have you witnessed or experienced in the classroom or UW-Whitewater community?
  2. Generally speaking, how would you characterize diversity and inclusivity at UW-Whitewater?
  3. Do you have any suggestions for improving the cultural climate on our campus in terms of diversity and inclusivity?  

The approximately 20-minute video was produced to share with faculty and staff at the 2014 College of Letters and Sciences Fall Retreat. The video is to be used for instructional purposes only. UWW Net-ID and password are required for access.  

Micro Aggression Video   

How to use the video  

The video is best used in the context of larger discussions about diversity, inclusion and issues of power/privilege. Instructors who wish to use the video should, at a minimum, provide a definition of "microaggression" before playing the video for a class. Microaggression is a concept pioneered by Derald Wing Sue, a professor of counseling psychology at Columbia University.  Dr. Sue defines the terms as "the 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." [1] But this definition can be broadened to fit all minority/non-mainstream groups, and in fact, we are seeking to apply the definition to all aspects of diversity, including sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, physical ability status, and nationality.  This video can be used as a way to illustrate further the concept of microaggressions while doing so in a familiar context-the UW-Whitewater community. Possible reflection questions include:

  1. Why did each of the students describe their experiences or observations as a microaggression?
  2. What parts of the video did you connect with the most? The least? Why?
  3. Were there any surprises in the video? Explain.
  4. Do you have specific suggestions about how we might constructively address a situation in which a microaggression has been committed (by us and/or by others)?
  5. In addition to the suggestions offered by the students on the video, do you have any suggestions for making our community more inclusive?   

Depending on the comfort level of the class, instructors may request students to reflect in writing only, in discussion only, or some combination of both (e.g., personal reflection in writing immediately following the video, then an invitation to discuss with the class).  

Elizabeth Kim, Pilar Melero, Amber Moulton, Ellie Schemenauer and David Travis collaborated on this project.   For more information, please contact Ellie Schemenauer ( or Elizabeth Kim (

[1] For example, see Sue, D. W. (2010). Microaggressions, Marginality and Oppression.  In D. W. Sue (Ed.).  pp. 3-22.Microaggressions and Marginality.  Hoboken, NJ:  Wiley.