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May 01, 2015

At Brandeis, Where an Indifferent, Mediocre Semi-Education Will Set You Back $60,000 Per Year, An Attempt to Educate Students About "Microagressions" and "Triggers" Is Deemed to Itself be a Triggering Microaggression

We used to call "microaggressions" our personal peeves, but the Social Justice Warriors want to make it sound important (and give it the false sheen of academic rigor), so they called it "microaggressions." Note this word also shifts the party responsible -- it used to be understood that if you had a pet peeve, it was your pet peeve.

Now comes the word "microaggression" to make it sound like the guy who activated your pet peeve did so voluntarily and, well, aggressively -- instead of it just being you getting annoyed, because you're sensitive.

For a long time, I've heard Asians, in particular, talking about the particular "microaggression" of asking "Where are you from?" When they say "Fort Lee, New Jersey," the other person says, "No really, but where are you from?"

Several things here. One, I can see how this would be annoying.

Two, I don't think many people actually ask the question this way. I think the question is here being deliberately made to sound more stupid than it was actually posed. Like, I'd ask, "I mean, where does your family originate from?"

But I wouldn't ask that, because now I know it's the Worst Thing Ever to try to find out if the person you're speaking to is of Korean or Chinese, or Korean or Japanese, extraction, because like You Should Just Know Or Something. *

At any rate, what these questions are actually getting at is that. For me, I can tell Chinese and Japanese apart pretty easily (I think -- don't test me), but I get a little confused by Koreans and Vietnamese, and I have no real idea what Laotian might be.

These questions are said to be "microaggressing" or "othering" or "exoticizing."

One could also call them A stranger taking an interest in you and your culture, but of course we can't call it that, because Special Snowflakes need to live dramatic lives in which they are always put-upon and suffering the worst tragedy of anyone in all of history.

Thus, an inartfully-phrased question which is just seeking some cultural information is turned into a Racist Taunt.

Um, it's not. I can see how Asians would be annoyed that white people are always asking about their culture (especially when they themselves might not know much about it, hailing from Fort Lee, NJ and all) but the fact is, this is a compliment, basically: Whites have long been interested in Asian culture.

Look at all the Rising Sun flags and samurai swords that dweebs own.

Now, you can be "otherized" or "exoticized" by a compliment -- it is true, someone can "otherize" you, treat you as the distant other, while actually being (overly) interested in you, just as clueless liberal can attempt to give praise to a minority but come off as condescending and presumptuous -- but in the history of racism, I'm going to go ahead and say that "Other people have the racist misimpression that my culture is cooler than it really is" is pretty fucking low on the list of Racial Harms.

It ranks just a few steps under the Holocaust and slavery. Just a few.

This is why I say this used to be called a "peeve."

Do I understand why Asians complain about this? Yes.

Would I think it was annoying if I were Asian? Yes. In fact, I can see it as annoying even as whitey who rarely faces the "Where do you come from?" question.

Would I bring it up, in talking with my fellow Asians, as an example of how clueless and stupid White People are? Sure would.

But I'm afraid that's about the limit of it. It cannot really be pushed beyond that to a true racial affront, and damnsure not a racist one.

But, as I say: Special Snowflakes have empty gray lives, which they feel the need to color up with Hallucinated Persecutions.

And thus "Where are you from?" becomes the Worst Crisis Ever Faced by 18 year old, Upper Middle Class Asian kids whose actual worst crisis was not getting accepted by an Ivy League school and having to settle for one of the very expensive faux-Ivies like Brandeis.

And I'm not going to sugarcoat it -- Braindeis is for the dumber, weaker Upper Middle Class kids -- but again, in the history of suffering, this isn't quite up there with Anne Frank.

So anyway, the Brandeis Asian American Student Association put up some fliers to indicate microaggressions they hated -- things like "I totally have an Asian fetish" and "you're my favorite Asian" (notice these are actually awkward compliments, btw).

Here's the thing: Other students seeing those fliers felt "triggered" -- and thus, the BAASA's attempt to alert people to the dangers of "microagressions" has itself deemed as triggering.

I do think there is a point to this "microaggression" stuff. Sometimes people will reference race, attempting, they think, to pay someone a compliment, or "put this whole cross-racial awkwardness behind us." But what they don't realize is that the person they're saying that to hears that constantly, so to them, the "cross-racial awkwardness" is never put behind.

Even if you're attempting to be nice to an Asian, and tell him how cool you think karate and Giant Robots are, what the Asian is hearing, for the hundredth time in a conversation with an Anglo, is that he is an Exotic Asian Boy From Faraway Lands.

So I do think they have a point. And I know that I do this myself. I try to be friendly and put the race thing aside by underlining it.

You know what? This never works. I was once having a great night with friends and this from-County-Cork Irish bartender and I said to him something like "God bless you you Irish son of a bitch!"

You know what he did? Threw me out of the fucking bar, that's what he did, even after I apologized profusely for ten minutes.

So, it never works, and Anglos should probably just never say a word about an acquaintance's race, unless that acquaintance brings it up.

So I do think they have a point. And I do think Anglos should know this annoying.

As Leader of The White People,* I declare that it's time to realize this I'll Prove I'm Totally Not Racist By Calling Attention to Race gambit must be retired.

Still, the whole Oppressed People nonsense? C'mon.

Stop using a petty annoyance as a justification for a formalized structure of racial hatred.**

Via Instapundit, with more.

Thanks to MWR for the tip.

* Like most SJW microkvetches, this one is a bit incoherent, insisting, as it does, that Anglos should simultaneously take no interest in Asians' heritage and also have perfect native-level fluency in cultural differences between Asian cohorts.

BTW, the other day I had a cabdriver who commented upon what he found odd in America. So I asked him where he was from (Ethiopia) and where in Ethiopa (Addis, he said -- I guess that's the cool shorthand for Addis Adaba? I dunno).

Anyway, know why I asked him these things? Not to "otherize" him, but rather because I was, get this, interested.

And honestly I didn't have much else going on.

Then again, in fairness, he did broach the subject (his comment implicitly announced he was interested in cross-cultural observations) and furthermore he was a recent immigrant, not someone whose tribe had, since the Sixth Dynasty, resided in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Still, one should, I think, distinguish between intentional insult and unintentional awkwardness.

The first is something one could be justifiably angry about.

The latter is something that assholes who just want an excuse to shout will gin up some drama over.

More: Actually, now that I see a True Asshole making this kind of joke, I begin to see how abrasive it really is, and why it should be retired.

* Technically, Jeff Winger is Leader of the White People, but actually the Position is open to which ever White Person holds the Conch at any particular moment, and I just got a hold of it now.

** Many citizens of foreign countries will decry "American nationalism" as a passive-aggressive (and dishonest) way of expressing their own jingoistic nationalism. When you hear a Frenchman screaming about how America thinks it's the best, but really it's not very good at all, who do you think he's implying really is the Best?

Likewise, many minorities now employ a constant, codified, ritualized attack on White People as their method of engaging in some bumptious, egotistical Racial Triumphalism.

And this becomes more obvious every single day.

Guys? If you think your own culture or race is the best, stop being dishonest, and just express your honest chauvanistic and/or racist feelings.

Stop using the nasty passive-aggressive subterfuge of always strongly, strongly implying that you are Superior to Whitey as your chickenshit method of proclaiming racial superiority.

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posted by Ace at 04:02 PM

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