Oxford University Warns That Failure To Make Eye Contact Can Be MicroAggression and “Subtle Racism”

oxford_university_coat_of_arms-svgo-WITCH-TRIALS-facebookIt 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””

  1. Prof Turley,

    I don’t mind being asked where I am from, if Ii get to know them well and feel a cultural interest and a positive vibe from them. I almost never disclose that when someone I just met asks me that. It implies that I do not belong. I find it offensive and intrusive.

    1. So where are you from Cj? None of your business is a perfectly acceptable answer by the way. 😉

      1. Olly – I usually preface by saying: Do you mind if I ask you where you are from originally? But then I was raised to be polite. 🙂

      2. Hehe, that is too rude as if they got to me. I won’t give them that. Sometimes I will walk away if they are complete strangers and I know I will not be seeing them again. It is rude without saying a word. i like this better! To others I simply state I am from around here. They say, “But you have a touch of accent”, And I say well that is strange, isn’t it?! All this with a smile on my face, and they smile back.

        1. That’ll work. I learned how to ask during my Navy career. Military people are not much for small talk and they certainly are not overly impressed by one’s feelings on the matter. If you asked then be prepared for anything.

  2. No offense to Brits in general, but if they want to avoid “micro-aggressions” they might just bathe a bit more often!

  3. Strange Oxford chose Autism Awareness Month to make no eye contact a microagression. They must not be very aware.

  4. It’s got to be that people in places of authority but with little to do, having shot their bolt getting there, get up to mischief. It could be that these uber smart actually believe this but it also could be that they are just fu*#ing with us.

    1. No, they were never smart to begin with. This is egos run riot feeling desperation. Don’t these kids know they are just suckers being manipulated and used? The past two generations of young people are going to be eaten alive by ‘the real world’, and I am never voting Democrat again, too many shades of historical oppresive regimes running throughout the entire organization. I pray that good third party people step up to the plate, and in the meantime, I hope parents stop sending their kids to these Gulags. Local universities and community colleges are likely a better option at this point if they really intend to learn anything.

  5. I’ll stick with George Washington’s “Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation”. #37 of his #110 rules is as follows:

    “In speaking to men of quality, do not lean nor look them full in the face, nor approach too near them, at least keep a full pace from them.”

        1. Olly,….
          LBJ was in a league of his own when it came to browbeating people, and literally getting into people’s face to intimidate them.
          There are accounts that “the Johnson treatment” didn’t work too well on Bobby Kennedy.
          RFK wasn’t inclined to just stand there and take it.

  6. Some cultures consider prolonged eye contact to be rude. Asians and Finns come to mind.

  7. What a way to induce paranoia. While courtesy helps smooth social interactions, being on the lookout for social slights (being on the receiving or committing end) is just going to make people feel anxious when interacting with others. Am I going to offend someone? Am I being offended? Gotta be on guard, just in case…

    It will induce narcissism or paranoia. And does nothing to ease social interactions.

    Patience, tolerance, the benefit of the doubt. It’s unfortunate people are trying to replace those with micro aggressions, as though everyone else was being an intentionally annoying younger sibling. “Mom! He’s not looking at me!”

  8. I recall an article studying the difference between two men having a conversation and two women having a conversation. Women’s eye contract time was over 80%. Men’s about 50%. Obviously this “offense” is about the feminization of men.

  9. Do’s & don’t when visiting the Mescalero Apache Tribe:

    Do not stare or look at people with direct eye contact. This is perceived as being impolite. It is disrespectful to stare at all generations of our Mescalero Apache people. Pointing is also considered as impolite.

    Do not enter the reservation with snakes or any product made of snake skin or any part of the animal. The Apache do not communicate with this animal; it is considered a bad omen to have contact with a snake.

    The bear is an animal the Apache do not have contact with because bears are highly respected. Never touch a bear, its waste materials, footprints, bedding area or anything the bear has touched. Do not call him by his name. The Apache people refer to him as “my grandfather” or “my uncle.” If you cross paths with the bear, tell him to go into the dense forest and live where no other entities set foot. Do not enter the reservation with the following: bearskin hides, claws or teeth.

    The owl is a night creature and the Apache people do not have contact with this animal. Avoid having a night owl near you. It is considered a bad omen if an owl hoots near you day or night.

  10. Mad hatter disease, or mad hatter syndrome, was an occupational disease among hatmakers, caused by chronic mercury poisoning. It affected those whose felting work involved prolonged exposure to mercury vapors. The neurotoxic effects included tremor and the pathological shyness and irritability characteristic of erethism.-Wikipedia
    With the expedential rise in the autism spectrum over mercury laden vaccines & other ‘preservatives’ given to the population, shyness and NO eye contact will become more prevalent.

  11. It just never ends, does it? This is what happens when people get all up in other people’s business. Being yourself and minding your own business is now microagression? The world has gone completely MAD! People need to be concerned about themselves and ONLY themselves. Stay out of my business and worry only about your own self!! Weren’t you ever taught to stop tattling? College students have become whiners, whimps and putzes. They need to have their faces slapped and butts kicked. The same for their liberal teachers……..

  12. This is stupid. Even for a world-class university, this is stupid. The fear on the Left is gaining ground. If they can control the language, they can control the conversation. This is another attempt. Oh, and BTW, it is racist.

  13. This is the same gimmick that a lot of preachers run. They make you feel guilty about Poor Old Jesus hanging there on the cross suffering because of all your sins, Original and otherwise, mortal and venereal, and then hope you will give them some money to assuage your conscience.

    Same thing with all this racism schtick. The Liberal Democrats want everybody to feel guilty about being a racist, and if White Privilege isn’t the same dang thing as Original Sin, I don’t know what is. But if you feel guilty enough, you will send the Liberals/Democrats some money, and vote for the rascals.

    Anyway, here is another “sin” to add to the list.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Well Darren,

      I personally hate people with autism. Clearly they are micro agressing all the time.

  14. In some cultures prolonged eye contact is considered rude. I consider this statement a macro-aggression.

    1. thx. SOMETIMES I manage to read first, then write,

      I was also going to mention aggressive and disrespectful, as well as rude!

      Child prisoners of the Indian Schools Machine often had trouble with white teachers who considered the reluctance to “look me in the eye” a sign of bad character, when the children were practicing THEIR cultural norms of interaction with powerful elders!

      Personally, I consider this “micro-aggression” and the “cultural appropriation” stuff generally to be ridiculous, as practiced in the majority of cases. Certainly un-American in the rejection of diversity it implies.

  15. In Islam, it’s some form of sin for a man to have eye contact with a woman not his wife.

    To say these microaggressions are already to the point of absurdity is a gross understatement. This is MAD magazine on steroids, but real life.

    Someone I know recently suggested the endless wars are largely directly the result of Americans having so much free time on their hands. At first I thought this made no sense, but am now convinced it’s true.

    Microaggressions are likely another result of this strange social phenomena of too much free time.

    1. Oxford is in England. As a result this insanity cannot be blamed on the Americans.

    2. Personally, I feel that the endless wars, the endless presidential Election, Trump /Clinton Investigation saga. Including the rest of the Major Media theatrics that are constantly directed towards the public are designed to consume our thoughts, attention, emotions.

      Mainly what little time any of us have to donate to such luxuries away from our careers, families, paying bills and staying alive.

      I have long suspected that it is the way & means to keep the American Public focused on and consumed by something other than what we desperately need to be focused on.

      For instance, such as all the Criminal RICO Corruption within the State , Federal Judiciaries. Fraudulent Bar Associations and commissions for Judicial conduct that dismiss approx. 97% of all Grievances & Complaints filed. Judges judging other Judges, Lawyers judging other lawyers.
      Would that mean only Gang members can Judge other Gang members?

      The only Rights that are recognized in our courts seem to be Gay Rights. The only Due Process being generated is after they get done processing U, your assets, cash, kids, future and sometimes freedom.
      Combined with the fact that the FBI, U.S. Attorney refuses to investigate these cases, no matter what type of rock solid verifiable on Official Record Proof/Evidence you present to them.
      Joined by the advance knowledge of there is not a State or U.S. Senator , or Congressman that will help any of the innocent victims of Criminal RICO Judicial Corruption/Fraud.

      Its called the 360 degree Criminal RICO Full Coverage Insurance Policy, whereas the provider is the same as the client, being one in the same.

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