Microaggressions need to be stopped at school


Ana La Rosa Grillo, Staff Writer

Imagine you’re sitting in class and instead of the teacher all you hear are the voices of your classmates poking fun at anything and everything that you stand for. Entirely unprovoked, they make jokes about race, immigration, gender, sexuality, etc. and all you can focus on is how little you want to be in a room with these people. 

Every school has a set of rules and guidelines that all students are required to follow. However, the enforcement of those rules is unbalanced. The acknowledgement of students who spend their days making microaggressive/hateful comments and jokes is basically non-existent. What’s worse is that these students are creating an unsafe and toxic learning environment for minorities in this school. 

I have nothing against a good joke or two in class, the issue arises when it becomes harmful instead of funny. It can be difficult to feel like a part of the school when who you are is constantly being ridiculed 

Although the majority of the time these jokes were never directed toward me or anyone else, just having to sit there and hear people make ignorant jokes was frustrating. The lack of basic respect for the people in this school that are mildly different is scary. It’s expected to have an opinion on something but to actively be hateful towards people should be unacceptable. 

I don’t have any classes like this this year, but I definitely did last year, and it made my day miserable. It didn’t help that I already wasn’t good at said material. Almost the whole year I sat next to people that would constantly poke fun at race, ethnicity, immigrants and LGBTQ+ people. 

Best-case scenario I left class with a mild headache, worst-case I learned nothing and had a splitting migraine. That’s no coincidence either, many studies have shown that feeling social exclusion or ridicule can lead to physical pain, said pain can be reduced by lowering the amount of social exclusion or ridicule.  

The microaggressive comments and inappropriate jokes have a huge negative effect on the students experiencing them. Research shows that students who experience microaggressions have an elevated anger, stress and anxiety level. They are also more likely to be involved in drugs, alcoholism and fights. 

These effects should be more than enough to put more effort into stopping microaggressive and hateful behavior. These behaviors are a lot more harmful than people realize, and although you might have never experienced or seen it doesn’t change the harm done. The fact of the matter is that school, for many minorities, has become more of a social struggle than anything else.

It’s unacceptable for the school to allow students to have this effect on their peers, and should look into ways to prevent and/or suppress such behavior. Teachers especially should make themselves more aware of this issue, as they have the most power to stop it. More harm is done to students by disregarding microaggressions and hate-speech and it should not be ignored. An effort should also be made to help the students struggling, and recognize the signs of when something is wrong.