It is Diversity Week on Texas Tech campus. At the kick off event, we had a station that brought attention and awareness of microaggressions that take place on the TTU campus. A microaggression consists of brief verbal, behavioral, or environmental treatment that cause one to feel shame or to lose one’s dignity, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults towards people of color.
I personally have faced many of these in my 5 years of being in Lubbock. My freshman year in college, I was one of the three African American/Black hijabi sisters on campus. I was the only one integrated amongst the black community. In being such representative of my faith to the outside world, I also became the target of ignorance and bigotry. I’ve been told to go back to my country(I was born and raised in Houston, TX), I’ve been stopped in the airport and thanked for not blowing up the plane I was on, I’ve been insulted, yelled at across the parking lot, asked what language I speak (English of course), etc. I have realized that if you do not take these moments to educate people, then they will accept and continue with their beliefs, potentially making it harder for others in the future.
Our initiative is to spread diversity and acceptance around campus. But more importantly, make it known that diversity is something that we all need. It’s not just something we as minorities use to make ourselves feel better. It’s about educating people and letting them know that somethings are not okay.
Too many people have lost their lives, their families, a friend due to something that started as a microagressions and transpired into something bigger and far more deadly. So any chance that you have to educate someone, or right a wrong, please do not hesitate to take it. But it starts with us.
This is a reminder to myself first, and then to each and every one of you who might potentially be reading this. Be on the lookout for the video coming soon.
Update 3/28/2015: I was featured on the cover of the school new paper the next day.