Defining and Recognizing Negative Messages

“Our relationships with our students are not just defined by our communication to them but in how we respond to what we observe.

Every day, students are exposed to what the late psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce (1969, 1970) called microaggressions, “the verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.” (UCLA Diversity and Faculty Development 2014). Microaggressions from peers and staff can be all the evidence a student needs to know school is not for them. As part of community-building, I suggest defining and identifying microaggressions so that through awareness and dialogue, we can diminish their occurrence and impact.” Tyrone Howard