Gentistas share experiences with microaggressions


Microaggressions: brief verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative insults. Typically, microaggressions are associated with subtle forms of racism, but they do go beyond race. For instance, “You throw like a girl,” is a verbal microaggression, and the action of a White individual clutching his/her bag because a Latino is approaching, is a behavioral microaggression.

Below, three Gentistas share microaggressions that they have experienced while at UCLA. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section, and check out the community microagressions board in Campbell Hall!

Campbell Hall

Campbell Hall 1


Read Gentista Bernadett Leggis’s article about microaggressions here:








Share yours in the comments section below.


Race: The R-word: Cultural sensitivity and dialogue; their absence in UC campuses

After suffering what she considered a great social injustice, Alexandra Wallace got on YouTube and ranted about how Asians were too loud in the library. Within hours, the video went viral and it was immortalized on the Internet.

Should I or anyone else, be surprised, seeing as the persistent trend of racialized incidents in UC schools?

Numerous racist attacks such as the “Compton Cookout”, thrown by a fraternity at UCSD, or the noose found hanging at a UCSD library, and the swastikas carved into dorm doors at UC Davis indicate that UC campuses have a long way to go in fostering environments of tolerance and cultural sensitivity.

Instances of racial and ethnic intolerance have initiated response from many student groups, but their impact on campuses still resonate deeply.

Here at UCLA, Wallace’s comments sparked numerous emotional responses.

At first glance, Julie Pham thought that the Wallace video might be a joke but realizing it was not, she became enraged.

“I think that Wallace’s comments [proved] her to be very ignorant,” Pham said, “Asians are not the only ones that are loud. These are stereotypes that perpetuate hateful thinking that do nothing for social change and understanding.”

Victor Chan, a fourth-year biology student, is of Asian descent and identifies as Latino. His grandfather emigrated from China to Columbia, Chan’s birthplace and home.

When Chan first saw the video, he was in disbelief.

“The first thing I did after watching the video was to make sure that Wallace in fact was a UCLA student. When I found out she was a student, it really upset me,” said Chan, “being an individual that has dealt with being part of more than one culture, I have always hoped that people would be more understanding [of] one another, and learn about one another’s cultures.”

Recently, Chan and members of his Latino fraternity, Nu Alpha Kappa, held a taco sale fundraiser on Cinco de Mayo. They overheard students nearby demean the holiday by calling it “Drink-o de Mayo” as well as saying, “Oh I love Cinco de Mayo, that’s when all the tacos come out.”

Disappointed by their attitude, Chan said, “They don’t respect the day, nor do they even try to learn about it.” All of the different people and organizations on our campus share a responsibility to begin addressing these issues, especially among our diverse student groups.

While this incident was only lived by a few members of the UCLA population, it is still a strong example of interpersonal aggressions that that promote ethnocentrism.

Changing what we know about diverse groups is essential to changing how we talk about them. UCLA students expressed their support for a more ethnically inclusive learning experience in the recent USAC election, as 62.9 percent voters approved the Communicating Unity through Education initiative, which seeks to reform general education curriculum to include a diversity requirement.  Although this change to the curriculum has yet to go into effect, UCLA is making institutional moves towards creating a critical ethnic discourse.

“If we were to start to have open dialogue about the many different cultures that exist at UCLA, then we would be able to avoid such intolerance on our campus,” said Pham.

Whether it be the swastikas carved into doors, indecent party themes, or a video that demeans an ethnic group, it is abundantly clear to me that there needs to be open dialogue to help heal the social rift of these transgressions.

April: Aryan-zona

Nothing gets my eyes rolling more than the lazy poop-slinging of the label “Nazi”— like when some nerd calls another nerd a “grammar Nazi” for nitpicking split infinitives or when a spelling-inept Tea-Bagger sharpies a Fuhrer-stache on a pic of Obama, under a banner that reads (ironically) “communist!” But if the moniker of Nazi should be tacked onto anything in recent American history, let it be the great state of Aryan-zona. Yeah, it’s funny but unnerving nonetheless.

You might be a Nazi if…

You enact Senate Bill 1070, aka the Safe Neighborhoods and Happy Klansmen Act. As Saturday Night Live observed so hilariously a few weeks ago, certain folk in Arizona liken President Obama to Adolf Hitler, yet their state just passed a law that allows police to ask anyone they suspect as illegal immigrants for their papers. To quote Seth Meyers, anchor of SNL’s “Weekend Update,” “there’s never been a World War II movie that didn’t include the line, ‘Show me your papers’…Every time someone says, ‘Show me your papers,’ Hitler’s family gets a residual check.”

You might be a Nazi if…

Your department of education bans people with accents from teaching English, regardless of experience or proven efficacy. Now this has nothing to do with fluency, but a concerned and (budget-rattled) group of state officials that cringe at hearing “biolet” instead of “violet” or burrito instead of meat-and-veggie wrap.

You might be a Nazi if…

You are so ignorant and paranoid that you bar ethnic studies programs in public schools because they “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government” and the “resentment of a particular race or class of people.”  What devilish images of Latino-littered classrooms must these idiots conjure when they imagine the goings-on of Tucson’s successful Mexican studies program: a cluster of kindergarteners learning how to spell “Kill Whitey” on a whiteboard and a group of teenage Latinos running a Taliban-inspired obstacle course on the other side of the room. Uh-oh, they’re on to us…

And lastly, you might be a Nazi if…

Your “top cop” is the spitting image of Satan himself—well, let’s not be too loose with our metaphors; I’d say, “America’s Toughest Sheriff” (not named in fear of being snuffed out in the middle of the night) recalls a wrinkled, bloated Col. Hans Landa, “The Jew Hunter” from “Inglorious Basterds.” After all, you’d have to be a pretty twisted guy to be under constant investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the FBI, and most civil liberties unions in America.

For these reasons Arizona is April’s Tarado del Mes. Oh, what the hell, let’s give them May’s honor too, for good measure.

Oh yeah, Arizona refused to make Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a state holiday in the 80s…thought we should get that in too.