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Diversity Dialogues tackles microaggressions

Discussion series hosted monthly during academic year

The second Fall 2018 event for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences’ Diversity Dialogues addressed the subject of microaggressions.

Diversity Dialogues Diversity Dialogues

The discussion was led by two co-facilitators: Assistant Professor Sabrina Robinson, Ph.D., of NSU’s Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing, and Kristina Tatum, a student in the College of Psychology’s Clinical Psychology doctoral program and president of the college’s Ethnic Minority Association of Graduate Students (EMAGS). With Robinson participating remotely, the discussion began by soliciting the audience’s conception of microaggressions.

Robinson and Tatum outlined the history of the term, which was coined in the 1970s by education and psychiatry professor Chester Pierce to describe the small insults and denigrations experienced by African-Americans. By the 2000s, the term had expanded to include more marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQ community. Psychologist Derald Sue has defined microaggressions as “brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership."

Robinson and Tatum shared examples of the microaggressions they have each experienced and outlined the negative consequences that can impact people who experience microaggressions for a prolonged period.

“We get immune to what happens around us,” Robinson said. “It’s going on for so long that we get used to it.”

Of her participation in the discussion, Tatum said, “It was an opportunity to further the efforts of providing information on a topic that is complex and not often discussed openly, but important.”

Tatum said EMAGS intends to provide education on the subject and wants to collaborate with other organizations to provide resources for those impacted by microaggressions.

The first Diversity Dialogues session of the academic year serves as an open forum to identify topics and facilitators, according to CAHSS Associate Professor Robin Cooper, Ph.D., who also works as Special Assistant to the Dean on inclusion and diversity issues.

“It’s an open forum to hear what everyone thinks is an important issue to talk about as the NSU community,” Cooper said.

Of all the topics raised at the open forum, Cooper said microaggressions received the most response.

The upcoming Nov. 6 session will highlight the perspectives of NSU’s international students, and the Dec. 4 event will focus on efforts to destigmatize mental health issues.

For more information on inclusion and diversity at NSU, click here.

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