It appears that being shy could now be part of the ever-widening and ill-defined ranger of “micro aggressions.” Oxford’s Equality and Diversity Unit has issued a statement to student that avoiding eye contact or “not speaking directly to people” could be deemed a “racial microaggression.” Such a failure to maintain eye contact is cited as a possible cause for “mental ill-health”.
Even when the lack of eye contact or directness is due to shyness or “entirely well-meaning,” “this is of little consequence if a possible effect of their words or actions is to suggest to people that they may fulfil a negative stereotype, or do not belong”.
The school warned that such “micro-aggressions” are :subtle everyday racism” and “can appear trivial. But repeated micro-aggressions can be tiring and alienating (and can lead to mental ill health).
Even asking someone about their origins is a potential microaggression for the subtle racist: “Racial micro-aggressions might include not making eye contact or speaking directly to people; not believing someone is British (‘Where are you from? No, I mean originally …’); ‘jokes’ drawing attention to someone’s difference, their accent or nationality.”
The concern is that schools are fostering a type of hyper sensitivity where every perceived slight are forms of racism. Now even failing to make eye contact can be listed among a person’s microaggressions, a term that was already maddeningly ill-defined.
40 thoughts on “Oxford University Warns That Failure To Make Eye Contact Can Be MicroAggression and “Subtle Racism””
Ah, problem definitions by selecting the facts and how they fit into the puzzle without using acceptable methods of research and proof. It is one thing for untrained people on the street to come up with these “theories”. To completely overlook the role of culture in making these assessments of micro-aggression is beyond description (for people who are supposedly at the top academically.
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