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  • Writer's pictureHistory Retold Project

Microaggressions in School

The danger of a white, male-centric historical narrative is the fact that the story is told from the point of view of a small fraction of the population. With no diversity in race and gender representation, there is no diversity in ideas. Our school system breeds a set of white males who are naturally biased towards their own gender and race - after all, it's what we teach them. This perpetuates the spread of inaccurate information in favor of this relative minority.

To be honest, personally, I have not experienced much injustice at school. Sometimes, people will make uneducated assumptions about my race/looks, though. For instance, a comment that I get a lot is, "I thought you were Chinese." China, being the largest Asian country, is the automatic generalization people make when they meet someone of Asian appearance. In addition, the dining program at my school wrote "Asian Chicken" on the lunch menu. I was astounded. How can they generalize a dish based on a whole continent? Is there an African Chicken? A European Chicken? I appreciate our dining program attempting different cuisines, but generalizations without research are not really okay or productive.

I also recently heard that colleges are beginning to limit Asian-American acceptances because they want to increase campus diversity. So a fully qualified Asian student might lose a spot to a student of a different race just for schools to reinforce diversity tokenism.

At my school, they recently implemented a new engineering program for freshman students in place of regular Physics curriculum. As someone who wants to pursue a major in science, I feel that I will go into future courses with no foundational knowledge. But whenever I try to bring this up, I get shot down by teachers and peers, told to "find a tutor." Not everyone can afford a private tutor, though: this is biased based on social class and familial income.

Furthermore, to be frank, the LGBTQIA+ community is something I'm still learning about. However, last year I experienced a situation I was unsure of. There was a kid in a club I participated in. I am not going to make assumptions, but I believe he began to identify as a male a couple of months prior. I noticed that all of his classmates referred to him as he/him, but the teacher persistently used she/her pronouns to address the student. It upset me that the teacher seemed so unwilling to refer to him by his proper pronouns.

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