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Should we be teaching micro aggression theory in PAUSD?

Original post made by Teaching Victomhood, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 18, 2016

Recently, popular culture has become awash with terms like triggering and micro aggression. Over the last several years, PAUSD has moved rapidly to incorporate Micro aggression Theory into its curriculum. Starting at the middle school level, a substantial amount of time is dedicated to teaching its methods and practices. (See Gunn lesson at Web Link

Surprisingly, a review of the research shows a dramatic lack of sound scientific research supporting the theory. Much of the data is qualitative and based on limited surveys or focus groups. Yet, our school district has rapidly moved to adopt this framework despite the lack of proper longitudinal studies with randomized samples and control groups.

We don't know if the micro aggression methodology works, reduces stereotyping bias or even if the outcome for the victim is better after using it. However, there is growing concern that it teaches a culture of victimhood, fragments society and limits free speech.

Is Micro aggression Theory a social justice fad and did PAUSD move too quickly to embrace it?

Comments (4)

Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 18, 2016 at 1:41 pm

Oh give me a break. To see the end game for all this, just look at college campuses today. Safe spaces? It's really ridiculous.

And, by the way, "micro aggression" is just another weapon to silence others. It's a form of intolerance. Ironic, isn't it.

Yes, we are all judged, even by things that are not under our own control. Deal with it. Want to change things? Change them with your actions. Legislating tolerance never works.


Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 19, 2016 at 9:23 pm

-- However, there is growing concern that it teaches a culture of victimhood, fragments society and limits free speech.

Interesting idea, except can you tell me what has "taught" us to create and conserve this culture of victimhood and the fragmented society we currently have and have had a history of throughout the life of this country? Genocide, slavery, discrimination, sexism. homophobia, etc.

Seems to me that anything that builds a frameword of discussion and grows awareness of the problem instead of denying it is probably positive, even if not completely scientifically understood.


Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 19, 2016 at 9:51 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Plane Speaker - uhm ok, if you think you can build a framework for discussion by suppressing speech...


Posted by Teaching Victimhood
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2016 at 8:19 am

My issue with Micro Aggression Theory is that it is not yet supported by rigorous scientific methods. The school district has rushed to embrace and teach it without establishing that it either works to reduce stereotyping or builds greater empathy and understanding between the communicating parties.

Empirically, the reaction on college campuses would suggest it actually is worse than other techniques like Active Listening. Even common sense would question how constantly scrutinizing and parsing words looking to identify even the smallest infraction against any identity, looks, race, gender, sexuality or ethnicity is a healthy or constructive way of going through life.

Shame on PAUSD for chasing the latest political fad and promoting more junk science.


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