Someone speaks over you. The chair consistently overlooks your raised hand. A colleague takes credit for an idea that someone else articulated just moments ago. Misgendering. Mispronunciation of names. Tokenizing, dismissive, and even toxic behaviors. Derald Wing Sue defines these as microaggressions, “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults to the target person or group.”
Unfortunately, microaggressions can and do happen in real life . . . and on Zoom.
While Zoom has enabled many higher ed institutions during the pandemic to continue teaching, administering, and even socializing, it is also the scene of countless microaggressions.
Some challenges related to Zoom and other online meeting spaces are well known, such as inequitable access to the internet, potential distractions in the home space, and screen fatigue. Less well known is how Zoom can exacerbate bad communication and, unfortunately, the opportunity for microaggressions.