SNOWFLAKE 101: University of Arizona Releases Booklet on How to Deal with “Mean Words”


Sh8t is getting out of control!

To create a more respectful campus environment, the University of Arizona released a booklet on handling microaggressions, including the ‘oops/ouch’ approach.

Continuing to mispronounce the names of students after they have corrected you time and time again
Professor: ‘Is Jose Cuinantila here?’ Student: ‘I am here, but my name is Jesús Quintanilla.’
• Scheduling tests and project due dates on religious or cultural holidays
‘It has just been pointed out to me that I scheduled the mid-term during Rosh Hashanah, but we are okay because I don’t see any Jewish students in the class.’
• Setting low expectations for students from particular groups or high schools ‘Oh, so Robert, you’re from Pine Ridge High School? You are going to need lots of academic help in my class!’
• Calling on and validating male students and ignoring female students during class discussions
‘Let’s call on John again. He seems to have lots of great responses to some of these problems.’
• Expressing racially charged political opinions in class assuming that people with those racial/ethnic identities do not exist in class
‘I think illegal aliens are criminals because they are breaking the law and need to be rounded up and sent back to Mexico.’
• Singling students out in class because of their backgrounds
‘You’re Asian! Can you tell us what the Japanese think about our trade policies?’
• Denying the experiences of students by questioning the credibility and validity of their stories
‘I’ve eaten and shopped plenty of times in that part of town and it’s nothing like you describe it. How long have you lived there and who are you hanging out with?’
• Assigning class projects that are heterosexist, sexist, racist, or promote other oppressions
‘For the class project, I want you to think about a romantic relationship that you have had with a member of the opposite sex. Think and write about your observations.’
• Not respecting students gender pronouns, especially students who use gender neutral pronouns
‘Alex, you use ‘they/them’ pronouns. No, that’s too confusing. They is plural. I’m going to use him for you.’
• Using heterosexist or sexist examples or language in class.
‘Atoms sometimes attract each other like this male and female here. At the same time, atoms sometimes repel each other like these two males here.’
• Assigning projects that ignore differences in socioeconomic class status ‘For this class, you are required to visit four art galleries located in the downtown area. The entrance fees vary, but I am sure you can afford it.’
• Assuming that all students are from the U.S and fully understand American culture and the English language (i.e., be aware that there may be international students in the class)
‘What do you mean you have never heard of The Cosby Show? Where have you been hiding?’
• Discouraging students from working on projects that explore their own social identities ‘If you are Native American, I don’t want you to write your paper on Native Americans. You already know everything about that group and besides you will be biased in your writing.’
• Asking people with invisible disabilities to identify themselves in class
‘This is the last time that I am going to ask. Anybody with a disability who needs extra help, raise your hand!’
• Making assumptions about students and their backgrounds:
‘You’re Latino, and you don’t speak Spanish? You should be ashamed of yourself!’
Courtesy of University of Arizona Office for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence