racial, gender, and sexual-orientation microaggressions
there are aspects of psychology that apply across all populations. Maybe we need to dialogue more and be open to alternative interpretations.”
Throughout the semester, the professor had sensed increasing resentment among his students of color over the course content (he could not understand the reasons) and he welcomed the opportunity to say something positive about their classroom contributions. He responded, “Justin [who is a Black student], I appreciate your exceptionally thoughtful and intelligent observation. You are a most articulate young man with good conceptual and analytical skills. This is the type of nonjudgmental analysis and objectivity needed for good dialogues. We need to address these issues in a calm, unemotional, and reasoned manner.”
To the professor’s surprise, Justin and several other students of color seemed offended and insulted by the praise.
Kathleen, a graduating MBA business major, was conservatively dressed in her black blazer and matching skirt as she rode the number 1 subway train from Columbia University to downtown Manhattan. This would be her second job interview with a major brokerage firm and she was excited, sensing that her first interview with a midlevel manager had gone very well. She had been asked to return to be interviewed by the department vice president. Kathleen knew she was one of three finalists, but also sensed her advantage in having specialized and unique training that was of interest to the company.
During the train ride, Kathleen endured the usual smattering of admiring glances, as well as a few more lecherous stares. As she exited a very crowded subway train at Times Square, she attempted to squeeze out between the streams of commuters entering the train car. One man, seeing her dilemma, firmly placed his hand on her lower back to escort her out onto the platform. With his left arm, he steered her toward the exit and they walked briskly toward the stairs, where the crowd thinned. Upon separating, the man smiled and nodded, obviously believing he had acted in a chivalrous manner. Kathleen didn’t appreciate being touched without her permission, but thanked him anyway.
During the interview, the vice president seemed very casual and relaxed. She noted, however, that he referred to male employees as “Mr. X” and to female employees by their first names. Several times he called her “Kathy.” She thought about telling him that she preferred “Kathleen,” but didn’t want to alienate her potential employer. She very much wanted the job. When she inquired about the criteria the company would use to hire for the position, the vice president joked, “What do you need a job for, anyway? You can always find a good man.”
When Kathleen did not laugh and remained serious, the vice president quickly said, “I believe the most qualified person should be offered the position. We treat all men