A recent study found that when presented with a list of common "microaggressions," most racial minorities were not offended.
"Microaggression" refers to the notion that victimized groups are often insulted by well-meaning people who unknowingly say or do something insensitive. College administrations in particular have intensified their efforts to eliminate microaggressions on campuses to make them more welcoming to minorities.
One list of microaggressions was developed by the University of California system to illustrate to students and faculty the sort of phrases to avoid. Other universities, and even the Philadelphia court system, soon adopted the same list.
But when the libertarian Cato Institute paired with market research and data analytics firm YouGov and surveyed actual racial minorities on some of the examples, they found large majorities simply didn't care.
The Atlantic received an advanced copy of the report earlier this week and concluded "new survey data casts doubt on a popular framework used by universities to identify microaggressions." The study found:
- 77 percent of Latinos were not offended by telling a recent immigrant, "You speak good English."
- 71 percent of African Americans and 80 percent of Latinos were not offended by the phrase "I don’t notice people’s race."
- 77 percent of African Americans and 70 percent of Latinos weren't offended by "America is a melting pot."
- 93 percent of African Americans and 89 percent of Latinos found it inoffensive to say America was "the land of opportunity."
- 89 percent of Latinos and 77 percent of African Americans weren't offended by "Everyone can succeed in this society if they work hard enough."
According to commonly-used list of microaggressions, however, the above phrases actually convey negative messages such as "you are not a true American," "people of color are lazy," and "assimilate to the dominant culture."