Social Justice Training - Facilitator’s Guide

Student Staff Fall Training 2015
Created by: Justin Zagorski

Table of Contents
Time
1:00pm - 1:05pm
1:05pm - 1:15pm
1:15pm - 1:25pm

Duration
2 mins
10 mins
8 mins

Topic
Where Are We Headed?
Introductions with Preferred Pronouns
Framing Our Time Together
Social Justice is Self-Work
1:25pm - 1:45pm 18 mins
Complex Identities
1:45pm - 1:47pm 2 mins
Model of Multiple Identities - Intersectionality
1:47pm - 1:55pm 10 mins
Conceptualizing Oppression, Power and Privilege
1:55pm - 2:00pm 5 mins
Reflective Journaling - Phase 1
2:00pm - 2:05pm 5 mins
Break
Knowing Who We Are Today, Helps Us Move Toward Who We Want to Be Tomorrow
2:05pm - 2:45pm 40 mins
Communities of Practice
2:45pm - 2:50pm 5 mins
Cycle of Socialization
2:50pm - 2:55pm 5 mins
Reflective Journaling - Phase 2
2:55pm - 3:00pm 5 mins
Break
Digging Deeper into Present Day Oppression and Privilege
3:00pm - 3:20pm 20 mins
Microaggressions
3:20pm - 3:50pm 30 mins
Assimilation & Appropriation
3:50pm - 3:55pm 5 mins
Reflective Journaling - Phase 3
3:55pm - 4:00pm 5 mins
Break
Moving Forward as Skilled Agents of Change
4:00pm - 4:08pm 8 mins
Cycle of Liberation
4:08pm - 4:10pm 2 mins
Multicultural Change Process
4:10pm - 4:25pm 15 mins
Tracking & Triggering
4:25pm - 4:30pm 5 mins
Tips for Addressing Oppressive Situations
4:30pm - 4:35pm 5 mins
Perfectly Logical Explanations
4:35pm - 4:45pm 10 mins
Practice Addressing Oppressive Situations
4:45pm - 4:55pm 10 mins
Maintaining Hope and Resiliency
4:55pm - 5:00pm 5 mins
Reflective Journaling - Phase 4
List of Handouts
Journaling Prompts (Phases 1 - 4)
Microaggressions Examples Table
Table of Complex Identities

PPT Slides
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1

Where Are We Headed?
First, let’s talk about where we are headed. Today we are moving towards…
1. A deeper understanding of oppression, power, and privilege. For some of you, this session may present
the first conversation you have had about social justice. For others, this will be an opportunity to delve
deeper into the way we understand our own identities and the emotions tied to ways we are marginalized
and privileged. Talking about oppression and privilege can be difficult and challenging, especially for those
with privileged identities, and honestly it doesn’t always lead to clear answers. My goal is to help us sit in
the discomfort it may cause, as I believe that is where my greatest increase in understanding oppression,
power, and privilege has come from.
2. A greater awareness of our role in social justice. If we can all move forward from accepting that some
folks are often faced with more obstacles than others, or in other words, that oppression and privilege
exist, then I believe our dialogue will go to a more meaningful place. Now, we are definitely going to
discuss how these dynamics exist and in what ways, but I hope the conversation can begin from here, so
that we can focus more of our attention on what we can do to challenge systemic inequities and advocate
for social justice within our communities.
3. Group Dialogue that will provide us ways to continually serve as agents of change. Students are coming
from all over the state and country, along with many different identities, experiences, beliefs, and their
views of the world. Some will have strong opinions about social justice while others may never have even
thought about their identities in a context of oppression and privilege. All of this will inform how social
justice is approached within your communities. My hope is that you leave today with tools for facilitating
conversations about social justice with residents, intervening in situations where you can see that
somebody is being harmed, and helping students to learn about the world in ways they may have never
new existed.
I am using this photo to illustrate my view our time together today. Just as I cannot see where this path
leads, I do not know where today’s conversations will take us. I know we are headed toward social justice,
but I do not know how long we have yet to go. So where are we headed? I do know exactly, but I’m looking
forward to it.
Introductions
I hope that we are able to better get to know each other throughout today and that we have a really rich
dialogue, but first, let’s warm up with some introductions since there are new faces in the room. We will share
our names, preferred pronouns, what are role is in Housing. I have included a table of pronouns for your
reference. For some of you it may seem odd that I am asking you to share your preferred pronoun. This was
discussed in previously in Reslife training so I will only provide a brief explanation. I grew up assuming that
male and female were absolute, meaning that I was either one or the other. However, now I understand that
gender is much more complex than that. It takes into account hormones, genitalia, chromosomes, expression
and essentially has a lot more to it than a doctor proclaiming, “It’s a boy!” I think we will learn more about
gender tomorrow and there is more information on the HSU webpage. All you have to do is follow the link at
the bottom of the slide. The gender binary I grew up with does not account for all people, which means that
the pronouns he and she do not either. This means that often times when I assume somebody is a female or
male they may not actually identify with she or he pronouns. This can be for many reasons, so some are if that
person identifies as gender non-conforming, male with an androgynous gender expression, if they are
transgender. For this reason, I try to make it a habit of including preferred pronouns when I asked for
introductions. If you have not yet, I might suggest that you add them to your name tag in the blank space
provided, just like I have. I think if this is done frequently enough and over an extended period of time,
preferred pronouns will become normalized and people will feel safer being who they are. I’ll go first as an
example. My name is Justin, I use he, him, his pronouns, I am the RLC of the Hill. (Now everyone introduces
themselves)
2

Framing Our Time Together
We would now like to provide a bit of framing for our conversation today. We have a few suggestions for how
we can bring our 7 community values into our social justice work.
Note: 7 Prostaff members take turns reading different sets of guidelines (about 1 minute per person).
1. How Will We Care for One Another?
a. Assume positive intent. We all are doing the best we can.
b. Acknowledge intent and impact. We are all learning and growing.
2. How Can We Build Trust throughout our conversations?
a. Respect and Maintain Confidentiality. Share what you learned but not what you heard.
b. Communities are built through building relationships of trust and commitment
3. In what ways can we make sure we all feel integrated in this experience?
a. Share your story. Lean into the discomfort.
b. Use “I” statements to share thoughts and feelings. You cannot speak for your group.
4. How can we best participate?
a. Be fully present and participate fully (at your level of comfort)
b. Listen to understand, not to reply.
5. What can we embrace publicity?
a. Welcome new perspectives. Just because you are, may not mean you understand.
b. There are no quick fixes, but we must celebrate and appreciate our small wins.
6. What can we do to maintain open communication?
a. Embrace vulnerability by being engaged and genuine. Be open to discussing discomfort.
b. Listen respectfully. Do not interrupt people.
7. How can we build collective responsibility?
a. Pay attention to group dynamics and communicate those observations.
b. Actively participate, embrace the guidelines, and help others to do the same.
Ask: “Can we all agree to keep these thoughts in mind when we are engaging in dialogue.” Nodding your head
is fine. Raise your hand if there is any point that you do not agree to.
If somebody raises there hand, have them explain their reasoning and try to reword the guidelines so that
they can agree to it. It is important that everyone feels that the points on this slide are something they can
agree to keep in mind.
Social Justice Work is Self-Work
Social justice work is self-work. As we learn about ourselves we will be better able to learn about others. Selfwork is literally the life-force of social justice. This can mean engaging with our privileged and oppressed
identities, learning about how we view the world, and continually discovering how we are able to maintain a
resilient commitment to social justice.

3

Table of Complex Identities
Explanation of Activity (2 mins)
The Table of Complex Identities is used to help us think about the complexities of our social identities and how
they impact our daily experiences. The first column lists various aspects of identity that are parts of who we
are as whole people. The second column lists examples of some groups that are privileged in a U.S. context
within the categories listed in column one. The third column lists examples of some groups that, within a U.S.
context, are marginalized or oppressed within the categories listed in column one.
One important thing to understand is that these categories are based on systems of privilege and oppression,
not on individual experiences. For example, an individual can have pride in their identity as a queer woman
of color, or a single parent with a disability, but they are still subject to marginalization within a U.S. context
because laws, policies, media, resource distribution, social norms, and other determinants of safety and
power are generally set by those who have the most privileged identities.
With this in mind, please read over the Table of Complex Identities draw circles around the words that
describe your identities throughout the 15 categories. When you are complete, your list may look like
this example:

Once you have completed the table, please respond to the reflection questions on back.

4

Table of Complex Identities (continued…)
GROUPS THAT EXPERIENCE
PRIVILEGE IN A U.S. CONTEXT

GROUPS THAT ARE MARGINALIZED OR
OPPRESSED IN A U.S. CONTEXT

1. GENDER

MEN

WOMEN; TRANS; GENDERQUEER; INTERSEX

2. GENDER IDENTITY

CISGENDER/NON‐TRANS

3. RACE

WHITE PEOPLE

TRANSGENDER; GENDERQUEER; GENDER
NON‐CONFORMING
PEOPLE OF COLOR

4. SEXUAL ORIENTATION

HETEROSEXUAL

5. AGE

30S TO EARLY 50S

6. CLASS

MIDDLE CLASS; OWNING
CLASS

WORKING POOR; WORKING CLASS

7. EDUCATIONAL LEVEL

COLLEGE GRADUATE

HIGH SCHOOL OR LESS

GAY; LESBIAN; BISEXUAL; QUEER;
QUESTIONING
YOUNGER AND OLDER

8. RELIGION/SPIRITUALITY CHRISTIAN: PROTESTANT OR
CATHOLIC

MUSLIM; JEWISH; BUDDHIST; HINDU; LDS;
SIKH; PAGAN; AGNOSTIC; ATHEIST; ETC.

9. NATIONALITY

U.S.‐BORN; BORN AS U.S.
CITIZEN

BORN OUTSIDE THE U.S.; IMMIGRANT TO
U.S.; UNDOCUMENTED

RAISED BY BIOLOGICAL OR
ADOPTIVE FAMILY IN AN
ENVIRONMENT THAT FELT
SAFE AND WITHOUT ABUSE

RAISED IN THE FOSTER SYSTEM; RAISED
WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, WITH DRUG
OR ALCOHOL ABUSE IN THE HOME,
AND/OR OTHER HOME EXPERIENCES THAT
FELT UNSAFE AND LACKED STABILITY

11. ABILITY/DISABILITY

TEMPORARILY ABLE‐BODIED

PEOPLE WITH A PHYSICAL, MENTAL,
EMOTIONAL, OR LEARNING DISABILITY

12. ETHNICITY/CULTURE

WESTERN EUROPEAN

PUERTO RICAN, DINÉ, MEXICAN, NIGERIAN,
JEWISH, RUSSIAN, CHINESE, IRANIAN, ETC.

13. SIZE/APPEARANCE

SLENDER; PERCEIVED AS
ATTRACTIVE; HANDSOME;
BEAUTIFUL; ETC.

OF SIZE; PARTICULARLY TALL OR SHORT;
PERCEIVED AS UNATTRACTIVE; ETC.

14. USE OF ENGLISH

“PROPER” ENGLISH

ACCENTED ENGLISH; ANOTHER PRIMARY
LANGUAGE

15. MARITAL/PARENTAL
STATUS

MARRIED IN A HETEROSEXUAL
RELATIONSHIP WITH OR
WITHOUT CHILDREN

DIVORCED; LGBTQ PARENT; DOMESTIC
PARTNERSHIP; SINGLE PARENT, SINGLE‐ NO
CHILDREN

10. CHILDHOOD FAMILY
STRUCTURE

5

Table of Complex Identities (continued…)
Table of Complex Identities
Complete the charts (3 mins)
Give individuals approximately 3 minutes to draw circles around their identities. Provide a personal example
(included in PowerPoint). Explain that this is what your chart could resemble.

Personal Reflection (5 mins)
Take a 5 minutes to reflect on the questions below, using the information you provided on the previous page.
1. How did it feel to do this activity?
2. What was easy? What was challenging?
3. Write down the identities that you think about most often.
4. List the identities that you do not think about very regularly.
5. Were there identities that became visible to you as a result of this exercise?
6. Why might you think more about some of your group identities than others?
7. What experiences are in your mind as a result of this activity? What identities are they linked to?
Pair and Share (8 mins)
Now, the next activity is highly-structured and the purpose of that is to interrupt common patterns that exist
during dialogue between two people. As we move forward with this activity, keep this thoughts in mind:
 Rather than listening to the other person, people often think about how they are going to respond. I
encourage us to genuinely listen to others as we engage with social justice.
 When in group settings people often raise our hands before somebody has finished speaking.
 This causes unequal participation. For many, silence is uncomfortable during dialogue but allowing for
silence provides a space where more people feel comfortable sharing and are better able to learn.
Now, you are going to be talking with a partner. Each of you will have 3 minutes to talk, while the other
person listens. The listener is silent. They should not respond while the speaker is talking, and the listener
should even try not to nod their head in agreement. You will find another person to talk to. Somebody you
either don’t know well or haven’t talked to today. One person will respond to questions while the other
person silently listens. I will let you know when to switch roles. The new speaker will respond to the same
questions.
 How did seeing your identities within a system of oppression make you feel?
 In what ways are you confused about your identities?
 If there were identities you hadn’t thought about until today, why do you think that is so?
(Have partners swap roles after 3 minutes, conclude exercise after 6 minutes)
Okay, I wanted to provide you all with an opportunity to verbally process the table of complex identities. Also, I
chose to structure the sharing in this way because this kind of engagement is necessary in order for us to engage in
social justice work. One way that people with privileged identities can support those with marginalized identities is
by listening. Really listening and appreciating the opportunity to learn about their story.

6

Model of Multiple Identities
(2 mins) Before we move on, I want to acknowledge that this table does not encompass all that I am. We are
much more complex, as the activity implies. Our identities are much more intersectional. This is the model of
multiple identities that better illustrates how we move through this world. It takes into account our
intersecting identities, for instance my experience as a white male is different than that of a white female,
even though we both share the white identity. Additionally, the model illustrates that context matters when it
comes to understanding our identities, such as our upbringing and lived experiences. Even though, often times
we are born into these identities, this model shows that our experiences inform the way we may personally
experience them. The dots or identities that are closer to the core of the model are the identities that we
often notice in our day-to-day lives, or are more salient for us. Those that are farther away are likely the
identities we do not often think about. At the core of the model, this all comes together to explain who we
are. It is these intersections of identity that prevent me from knowing the White male experience even when I
identify as a White male. This is why people should not be asked to speak for their whole identity group.

7

Conceptualizing Oppression, Power and Privilege
Definitions (3 mins)
Now that we have explored our own identities a bit, let’s talk about how they relate to social justice. Let’s
begin with a conceptual discussion of social justice. Would anybody like to read Housing’s definition of social
justice?
 Social justice is a reflective and on-going process of identifying systemic privilege and oppression and
taking redistributive actions to transform this. We do this by creating a resilient vision of an equitable
world and committing to the actions needed to make it a reality. (HSU Housing & Residence Life, 2015)
The rest of today’s discussion will focus on unpacking this definition and coming to an understanding of how
we can utilize social justice in our work with students and with each other. Let’s look specifically at oppression
and privilege, as they are the systemic inequities that call for us to pursue social justice in the first place.
 Privilege is the sum of unearned and often invisible benefits and advantages not available to members of
oppressed groups.
 Oppression is about keeping power with the groups that power is already associated with and denying it to
groups of people without that power.
The dynamic that separates privilege from oppression is power. Within a system of oppression, privileged
identities hold power over oppressed groups. People with privileged identities tend to make the rules, have
the ability to define and re-define truth, often do not know much about their dominance and experience
comfort in their experiences being normalized. People who are oppressed must often abide by rules, try to fit
in, have their experiences invalidated and they tend to know more about privilege than those with privileged
identities. This is all a result of our history.
 Throughout history our individual attitudes, biases, perceptions and actions, led to the institutional norms,
policies and practices that maintain a system of oppression. The oppressive structure of one institution
then compounds with another and there are structural, systemic inequities that are created.
Historical Construction of Isms (7 mins)
If we look at the historical creation of isms (racism, sexism, ableism, sizeism, etc…), we can see that some
forms of oppression may not have been intentionally created. Let’s watch this video that reverses the creation
of an able-bodied society to illustrate the power dynamics that oppress people with disabilities. Play first
video (ableism): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9s3NZaLhcc4 (Duration 1:40)
It may really be that temporarily able-bodied people did not intend to marginalize people with disabilities
throughout history, but we are still left with injustice that we must address regardless. This is the impact. It
often matters more than our intent. Now let’s look at an ism that was created more intentionally by those in
power. Play second video (racism): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFjKQVZLk1g (Duration 3:30)
Now it may be that all isms were created intentionally, I will not argue that. I just think that some causes are
more apparent than others.
8

Reflective Journal Phase 1
Instruct people to respond to the following questions that are provided on the reflective journal portion of the
handout packet.
1. What have you learned about yourself?
2. How did it feel to circle your identities and see them placed under privileged and marginalized
categories?
3. What is the most meaningful thing you have learned so far today about power, privilege and oppression?

5-Minutes Break

9

Knowing Who We Are Today, Helps Us Move Toward Who We Want to Be Tomorrow
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” That is a quote by Albert Einstein and its message
is what we will focus on for the next hour. We are indeed going to reflect on our past to more fully know who
we are today and that will help us move toward who we want to be tomorrow. However, there is more to this
quote. Einstein also said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” This next hour is not only about
reflecting upon our past, but also questioning what we have learned.

Communities of Practice
Explain the Activity - 5 minutes
This next activity is called “Communities of Practice” and its purpose is to illustrate the importance of
acknowledging all of our experiences. Cris Cullinan (2000) describes communities as place where our values,
perspectives, and beliefs about the world are created; these values are formed early in our lives as children
and become difficult to change as we evolve into adults. Within a context of oppression, power, and privilege,
the messages received from these communities both directly and indirectly shape our attitudes about
ourselves and ‘other’ people. The communities we are going to reflect upon are: the people who raised us, our
friends, teachers in our K-12 education, and the media. The idea is that we retain lessons from these
communities and unless we pay attention to them, the messages will negatively inhibit our ability to
effectively work with one another and impact our work with residents. We need to take conscious measures
to counter some of the voices these messages leave in the back of our minds, the ones that inform how we see
ourselves in the world, America, and at HSU.
Of course, as I’m sure we all have grown and evolved in our identities through the course of our lives and no
longer believe everything we once did, just as I don’t believe all that I was taught as a child. However, there
are messages that continue to inform the way we view people who are similar to and different from
ourselves. So, throughout the room, I’ve posted value statements with a continuum from strongly rejected to
strongly held. Each of you will receive stick-on colored dots for each of four different communities of
practice. You will also receive a white dot to represent HSU. This will provide for richer discussion for when
we discuss how this activity can help us build community at HSU.
Explain the colors that correspond to the Communities of Practice:
 Yellow – the people who raised you
 Green – your schooling (K‐12)
 Red – the media
 Blue – your friends and peers
 White – HSU Community
Each of you will need to place one of each color of your dots on each statement along the continuum,
indicating whether the statement was strongly rejected or strongly held by those communities. You will not
have much time to do this, so go with your first instinct and don’t second guess yourself.

10

Communities of Practice (continued…)
Individual Activity - 10 mins
(Hand out dots to each person) Each person walks around the room and places five dots on each of the six
posters, thus placing a total of 30 dots.
Partner Discussion - 15 mins
After everyone has placed all of their dots up on the wall, have them choose a partner with somebody sitting
close by. Once everyone has a partner, have 1 person in that pair raise their hand. Then, tell the people who
have raised their hands to count off by 6 (1,2,3,4,5,6, then 1,2,3,4,5,6, and so on). Tell them to go to the poster
that has their number on it. Each poster should have about 15 people at it. Partners will respond to the
appropriate poster, discuss the following questions, and then rotate to the next poster. Partners will discuss
each poster for 2 mins before rotating:
 Do you see patterns in the ways the dots are placed?
 If dots of one color are mostly on one side of the spectrum, If dots of one color are mostly on one side
of the spectrum, what messages do you think led to that agreement?
 If there are any outlying dots, what do you think those represent?
Large Group De‐brief - 10 minutes
Bring 3 of the most thought provoking statements up to the front of the room. (There will not be time to
discuss all statements as a large group)
 Do you see patterns in the ways the dots are placed?
 Did any of you have any reactions to the ways dots were placed? (Point out interesting trends)
 Ask volunteers to talk about why they put one of their dots (point out any outliers on the poster):
Use the following value statements:
 Neighborhoods with high numbers of people of color are dangerous and crime filled.
 In the United States, if you try hard enough, you will succeed.
 People are only victims if they let themselves be victims.
 In some ways, men are just more competent than women.
 It would be better if we had a color blind society.
 People with disabilities deserve pity.

11

Cycle of Socialization
The cycle of socialization is an illustration of how we come to learn what we know about differences based on social
identities and outlines ways in which oppression is reinforced and disrupted, essentially it is the theory that supports the
activity we just did. “We are born into a specific set of social identities, related to the categories of difference
mentioned above, and these social identities predispose us to unequal roles in the dynamic system of oppression. We
are then socialized by powerful sources in our worlds to play the roles prescribed by an inequitable social system. This
socialization process is pervasive (coming from all sides and sources), consistent (patterned and predictable), circular
(self-supporting), self-perpetuating (intradependent) and often invisible (unconscious and unnamed).” (Bobbie Harro,
1997)
NOTE: All content for The Cycle of Socialization can be found in Readings for Diversity and Social Justice: Pages 45-51.
The previous activity (Communities of Practice/Influence) illustrates the impact the Cycle of Socialization has on our
perceptions of others.
Explain the cycle:
a. The Beginning - born into system of oppression with no awareness of social identities or norms created by the
dominant/privileged social identity groups. Babies do not know how to stereotype people.
b. First Socialization - We are taught what to think about ourselves and how we relate to others by the people we
know. Because we are dependent on these people and critical thinking skills are still being developed and we are
like a big sponge. This early socialization is often not questioned and therefore we unconsciously conform to
what we are taught.
c. Institutional & Cultural Socialization -As we are introduced to multiple “institutions” and inundated with
stereotypes, our perceptions of ourselves and others are either reinforced or contradicted at this point in the
cycle. This is where we are likely to see preferential treatment and are exposed to rules, roles and assumptions
that are not fair to everyone. These messages we receive justify discrimination and prejudice.
d. Enforcements - Enforcements are in place to maintain systems of oppression, thus granting privileges to those
that maintain them. Those who object to maintain systems of oppression are often met with resistance and
their access to privileges can become threatened.
e. Results -By participating in our subordinate/target we reinforce stereotypes, collude, and perpetuate system of
oppression (internalized oppression). By participating in our dominant/agent roles and remain unconscious of or
are unwilling to interrupt the cycle, we perpetuate the system of oppression.
f. Actions -The conscious choice to interrupt oppression or perpetuate it by doing nothing.
g. The Core of the Cycle - Fear, ignorance, confusion, insecurity, power or powerlessness keep us in the cycle. Our
dominant/agent or subordinate/target social group identities will impact our rationale for remaining in the
cycle.

12

Cycle of Socialization (continued…)

13

Reflective Journal Phase 2
Instruct people to respond to the following questions that are provided on the reflective journal portion of the
handout packet.
1. Choose one of your marginalized social identities and write down the first 5-10 things that come to
mind about how you learned to be that identity?

2. Choose one of your privileged social identities and write down the first 5-10 things that come to mind
about how you learned to be that identity?

3. Reflecting on your own “Core of the Cycle”, what has kept you inside the circle?

5-Minutes Break

14

Digging Deeper into Present Day Oppression and Privilege
Our communities of practice have created the bias and prejudice that leads to discrimination and oppression. Let’s
look at racism for example: We now know that much of our past is built upon a history of racism. Two months after
Japanese people bombed Pearl Harbor, 120 thousand Japanese Americans were relocated to Japanese Internment
Camps. For hundreds of years White people subjected black people to all of the horror that chattel slavery is. We
now know that millions of Native Americans were killed during White peoples discovery of America. And we may not
see signs that say White’s only anymore but racism still exists, just as many other forms of oppression still exist. The
difference is that oppression occurs in more subtle ways.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvTyI41PvTk
The way in which racism exists may seem subtle but it still has a huge impact. As well the video focused on the level
of racism that exists between one person and another, but just as we talked about earlier, these individual
behaviors, attitudes and actions are what sustain oppressive institutions and structural inequities. This is why we
must dig deeper into present day oppression and privilege. We must know how this power structure has progressed
and in what ways oppression continues to have huge impacts.
Microaggressions
Now we are going to spend some time talking about microaggressions. Microaggressions are “brief and commonplace
daily verbal, behavioral and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile,
derogatory or negative racial slights and insults that potentially have harmful or unpleasant psychological impact on the
target person or group.” (Solorzano, Ceja, & Yosso, 2000)
Just a few more terms to think about for this next discussion are microinsults and microinvalidations. Microinsults are
behaviors, actions, or verbal remarks that convey rudeness, insensitivity, or demean a person’s group or social identity
or heritage. Microinvalidations are actions that exclude, negate, or nullify the psychological thoughts, feelings or
experiential reality of people who represent different groups (Sue, et. al. 2007).
Microaggressions are an ongoing issue within our county and our smaller communities, including college campuses.
People who are subjected to microaggressions tend to report that they are frequently subjected to insults and
invalidations based on race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity,
disability, and other identities and experiences. Microaggressions are often perpetuated at the subconscious level by
otherwise well-meaning and caring individuals. Nonetheless, microaggressions further create hostile and unwelcoming
environments, which is not what we want for each other or our students.
Videos: I want to share with you an initiative called #itooamharvard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57lM9fp9aNU
and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_85JVcniE_M
Table of Microaggressions (10 minutes)
Ask students to take a look at the handout, read silently. Tell students to make the following marks on their paper while
reading: (3 mins)
 Draw a “Circle” around the microaggressions that you have heard or seen before.
 Draw an “Underline” beneath the microaggressions you have personally experienced.
 Put a “?” next to the microaggressions you do not understand.
In small groups (3-4) people), ask students to discuss the following questions: (5 mins)
 Which microaggressions have you witnessed on the HSU campus?
 Would anybody like to share microaggressions they have personally experienced?
 What microaggressions do currently have a difficult time understanding?
When back in the large group, provide the following prompt for discussion: (2 mins)
 Would any of you like to share a microaggression you have witnessed or personally experienced on-campus?
15

Assimilation & Appropriation
The purpose of this next discussion is to focus on two more dynamics: assimilation and appropriation. Cultural
Appropriation is “the adoption of specific elements of one culture by a member of another culture without
appreciation or acknowledgment of that group” (William & Mann, 2014).
Here are a few examples of cultural appropriation:
 Ex. 1: “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume” campaign
- Ohio University’s Students Teaching About Racism in Society (STARS) organization Poster Campaign
that originated in 2013. Some of the memorable posters from this campaign capture the
appropriation of culture for the purpose of entertainment in U.S. celebrations of Halloween. (See
http://www.ohio.edu/orgs/stars/Poster_Campaign.html)
 Example 2: Fashion trends
- Stores and fashion lines have maximized popularity and corporate profit with the use of indigenous
prints and jewelry. Take for instance tribal prints on clothing sold at Urban Outfitters, the Afrika line at
American Apparel, or what I find when I type “tribal” into the search engine on the Target website. If I
owned target, I hope I would realize that if I have items tagged under tribal then I am probably making
money off of somebody else’s culture.
 Example 3: Jazz, Rock ‘N’ Roll, and Hip Hop
- I’m sure you all have seen celebrities who wear appropriated clothing, just as many of us have
probably done so. I even remember the toys my parents bought me so that I play cowboys and Indians
with my friends. However, this is not why I put Elvis up here on the screen.
- Let’s talk about cultural appropriation within the Jazz, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Hip Hop. Elvis Presley was
labeled as the “King of Rock ‘N’ Roll” in 1930 by Rolling Stone magazine.
- The problem is that much of Elvis’s inspiration, dance moves, and song lyrics came from Chuck Berry.
A white artist was able to utilize the same type of music to gain fame and fortune while black artists
were overlooked.
- This happened with Paul Whiteman who was known as the “King of Jazz”.
- It occurred again with the “Original Dixieland Jazz Band”, who claim to be the creators of Jazz right on
their album cover but Jazz was already occurring among African American and Creole America people
in New Orleans. Let’s look at more present day examples.
- Justin Timberlake was named the “King of Pop”.
- Then there was Eminem who was named the “King of Hip Hop”. The thing with cultural appropriation
is that often times, people do not intentionally use other cultures to gain fame, money or acceptance.
I read through quotes by each of these artists and all of them acknowledged that their music is no
different than what many other People of Color have been offering for years. However, the negative
impact that this appropriation has on communities of color still exists regardless of their
acknowledgement.
- Take for instance, Eminem’s record sales. They were three times that of the next leading Hip Hop
artist in 2010.
 Example 4: Harlem Shake
- A couple of years ago, one person made an offensive video of them replicating The Harlem Shake. It is
a style of dance from Harlem that was popular in New York since at least the 1980s, but recently it has
been appropriated by large companies, college students and people just looking to make the Harlem
16

Assimilation & Appropriation (continued…)
Shake a joke.
- In truth, you have not seen the Harlem Shake unless you have seen kids on the New York subway
performing the intricate and fast‐paced, on beat moves while maintaining balance on a moving
train…This is more than proper designation of a popular dance. It is about cultural appropriation.
When communities create an original art, they have a right to have creative control over its definition.
If you enter a ballroom dancing competition, you better not Cha Cha during the Waltz. Creative
interpretation is expected to respect certain boundaries. That is what conveys the respect” (Melissa
Harris‐Perry describing the Harlem Shake and meme’s of the dance on YouTube on March 2, 2013 at
http://www.msnbc.com/melissa‐harris‐perry/harlem‐ shake‐craze‐needs‐historical‐cultur).
Now let’s move forward and discuss assimilation, which occurs when marginalized groups are encouraged or
forced to surrender their identities, beliefs, values, and adopt or conform to the values and beliefs of the
dominate culture. (Bell Hooks, “Killing Rage, Ending Racism”)
 Ex. 1: Bleaching of skin
- Show video for 2.5 minutes. Then explain that the products are readily available at Walgreens (photo
illustrates this).
 Ex. 2: American Indian boarding school
- Historically American Indian boarding schools prioritized the Americanization of indigenous
communities by stressing English‐only on campus grounds and teaching skills that were valued as
appropriate for “civilized” communities. This loss of language often meant there was a loss of culture
and traditions, since many native tribes shared their history orally. “The foremost requirement for
assimilation into American society, authorities felt, was mastery of the English language.
Commissioner of Indian Affairs T.J. Morgan described English as ‘the language of the greatest, most
powerful and enterprising nationalities beneath the sun.’ Such chauvinism did not allow for
bilingualism in the boarding schools. Students were prohibited from speaking their native languages
and those caught "speaking Indian" were severely punished”
(https://content.lib.washington.edu/aipnw/marr.html). Captain Richard H Pratt, said, “Kill the Indian,
save the man.”
 Ex. 3: Professional Dress
- I’ll leave this last photo as a point to ponder as we move forward. In the U.S., who must you dress like in
order to be taken seriously?

Debrief Questions (10 mins)
 Who has questions about appropriation or assimilation that they would like to ask the larger group?
 How have our communities of practice contributed to assimilation?
 What does cultural appropriation have to with your role in Housing?
 What does assimilation have to do with your role?

17

Reflective Journal - Phase 3
Instruct people to respond to the following questions that are provided on the reflective journal portion of the
handout packet.
1. What emotions came up for you during our discussion about microaggressions, assimilation and
appropriation?

2. Describe a time when you felt the need to assimilate to the culture of others? How did this make you feel?

3. List as many other examples of cultural appropriation as you can think of?

5-Minutes Break

18

Moving Forward as Skilled Agents of Change
We will finish up today by discussing ways that we all can move forward as skilled agents of change, just like Helvetika
Bold. The Opportunity Agenda and artist Gan Golan collaborated to create Helvetika Bold, a black woman social justice
super hero. She uses her superpowers to transform words, letters, and phrases that are used by the villains—who are
Bad Ideas, Destructive Narratives, Harmful Stereotypes, and Distorted Values. Click for more information:
http://toolkit.opportunityagenda.org/

Cycle of Liberation
As people come to understand oppression and their
roles
this social justice, we seek new paths for creating social
Cycle
ofinLiberation
change. We redirect our path towards one of empowerment or liberation. This path is the cycle of liberation. Unlike the
cycle of socialization, which teaches us how to play our roles in an oppressive society and remain unaware of the
existence of oppression, the cycle of liberation guides us in creating the kind of lasting change that addresses the root
causes of oppression. The purpose of the model is to assist people in moving towards liberation when that path may
otherwise remain elusive. (Bobbie Harro, 1997)
NOTE: All content for The Cycle of Liberation can be found online at:
https://www.ohrd.wisc.edu/Home/Portals/0/Leadership%20at%20Lunch/The%20Cycle%20of%20Liberation.pdf
Explain the cycle:
a. Waking Up - pivotal experiences lead us to rethink what we were once taught and how we have come to view
the world. We may experience cognitive dissonance in this phase, meaning that things that used to understand
now start to not make sense.
b. Getting Ready - Building aspects of ourselves and our world view based on new experiences. We become
introspective to identify which aspects of our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors need to be challenged. We may
discover that we need to educate ourselves. Once we know something, we cannot not know it anymore. We
start to exercise our questioning and challenging skills to expand our understanding of the world.
c. Reaching Out - We begin to need to seek expertise outside of ourselves. We need to start speaking out when we
disagree, instead of remaining silent. We may get pressure from some to stop making waves and to accept the
status quo, but we may also get new friends and encouragement for doing so. Reaching out will take us from a
personal space to an interpersonal one.
d. Building Community - We begin to change how we value others and how we interact with them on a regular
basis. We start to dialogue with others who share our identities for support, and dialoguing with people who are
different from us to gain understanding. Group dialogue helps to realize that there many more strategies, ideas,
and options than we had originally thought. We can’t change our roles only; we must address changing the role
for everyone involved.
e. Coalescing -Having built communities of support and learning, we are ready to move into action to interrupt the
oppressive system. We educate and motivate members of the uninvolved public. We refuse to collude in
oppression and see the journey as a ‘we’ process. We have transformed our energy away from anger,
frustration, guilt and mistrust, and toward hope, shared power, trust, and optimism.
f.

Creating Change -We use our new found knowledge, growing awareness, and skills to move with our
communities toward transforming the system. It involves creating partnerships across difference to increase
shared power.

19

Cycle of Liberation (continued…)
g. Maintaining - Change must be integrated into our lives and modified as needed. This process of constantly
improving systems is necessary to continually move toward social justice. This spreads hope and inspiration,
providing role modeling for others. We become more human, more whole, more authentic, more integrated,
and by living this way, we increase the likelihood that the human species will survive.
h. The Core of the Cycle - The core is collection of values that hold the cycle together: self-love, self-esteem,
balance, joy, support, security, and a spiritual base. Each component of our core is made stronger with each
phase of the cycle and each human connection we make.
The original model shows that both the cycle of socialization and the cycle of liberation move in the same direction, but I
was taught that the cycle of liberation actually spins counter clockwise. This is because both processes are
simultaneously occurring. It didn’t really understand this until Nicki drew me a picture. (Draw a figure 8 on the board to
show how the opposite rotations interact with one another). This just shows that learning and growing are continual
processes.

20

Multicultural Change Process
Research shows that if people focus on gaining awareness, knowledge, and skills then they will be better able to
progress in the cycle of liberation. This is the Multicultural Change Process. It is the model I structured today’s training
around. The research shows that gaining a deeper awareness of ourselves and others and expanding our knowledge of
oppression and privilege allows use to utilize skills to transform our communities into more social just spaces. Engaging
in this multicultural change process will lead us to produce the kind of pivotal experiences and actions that the cycle of
liberation requires. Think of this model as means for breaking from the cycle of socialization. I should note that I can be
in both of these cycles simultaneously, depending on what form of oppression I am engaging with, just as I can regress
back into the cycle of socialization. The point is that I make a conscious effort to break from the cycle of socialization and
progress in the cycle of liberation. This is what it means to be an agent of change.

Tracking & Triggering
What is a Triggering Moment?
Any stimulus, either external or internal to the person, through which he or she experiences an emotional
reaction that may have some or all of the following characteristics:
 unexpectedness – the person is surprised by the arousal of his/her feelings
 strong intensity of feelings – the person experiences his/her emotions as overwhelming and
disproportionate to the original stimulus
 disorienting – the person is disoriented and distracted from the flow of the workshop and the planned
agenda; “stopped in their tracks”
 feeling out of control and overwhelmed by the situation
 feeling “de‐skilled” and reacting less effectively
 requiring extra effort to manage the situation effectively
Cycle of a Triggering Event
1. Stimulus or triggering event occurs.
2. The event triggers an internal “root,” some intrapersonal issue, need, memory, past trauma, fear,
prejudice, etc.
3. Person appraises or makes meaning of the event, developing a “story” about what is happening in the
moment.
4. Person experiences physiological and emotional reactions.
5. Person chooses their intention of how to respond.
6. Person responds to the incident.
Give 5 minutes to complete the Cycle of a Triggering Event reflection handout
Journaling the Cycle of a Triggering Event
Think of 1 situation when you have felt triggered. It can be from today’s exercise or from your past.
1. Describe your trigger. Who triggered you? What was happening in the room?
2. How did you make meaning of the situation? What “story” did you create about what you thought was happening?
3. How did you know you were triggered?
21

Tracking & Triggering (continued…)



physiological reactions:
subconscious behaviors or responses:
feelings:
self-talk/thoughts:

4. How did you want to respond? What would make you feel as though you could respond effectively?

Tracking
Let’s talk about Tracking, a concept that essentially means noticing what is going on around you and within
yourself. It is noticing and naming what is happening within groups that are impacted by a systemic power
structure. The goal is to track dynamics without attributing meaning, judgment, story, interpretation.
 Ask for a volunteer to come to the front of the room. Hand them a piece of paper with the following
prompt: “You are in the middle of class and have been trying to stay engaged with the professor’s
lecture, but you are distracted. You recently found out that a family member, who you loved dearly,
has passed. You would much rather be with family, preparing to mourn the loss of your loved one, but
you are sitting in class. Your gaze starts to drift away from the lecture as sadness takes over you. You
cross your arms, are now slouched in your chair, and by this point, have an emotionless face. You are
just staring at the wall of the classroom, not thinking about all that is going on around you.” Explain the
scene to the rest of the group: I simply want you to observe this student who is sitting class.
Ask the group: What do you see?
Have people raise hands to the following questions:
 How many of you have seen this person in class before?
 How many of you have been this person in class before?
 Do you think that this person is just bored of listening to the professor lecture?
 Do you think they are thinking about plans for the weekend?
 Do they seem tired from the night before?
Either ask for other stories they see or just go to pointing out that a story is being told. Then have the
volunteer read the piece of paper they were given. Point on the danger of a single story.
 Tracking is a skill that can help us to notice actions or behaviors that change group dynamics and by
naming these dynamics we can grow together. It just must be practiced without judgement, without us
attaching our own story.
1. What are some examples of when you all have tracked an action or behavior that changed the dynamics
within a group? This could have happened today, in this space.
2. Tracking is also a self-reflective process. Consciously managing our own triggers as well as those of
others in a group is very important.

22

Tips for Addressing Oppression
Let’s talk about the actual act of intervening when we track a potentially oppressive situation. For us, we can draw on
our knowledge from the Check It campaign and practice using those bystander intervention techniques to address other
oppressive events. I personally find that the more I practice either in training session like this one or in everyday life, it
becomes easier and easier to not be the bystander who thinks, I’m sure somebody else will say something. Today we are
going to practice intervening so that you feel better prepared to facilitate social justice in your communities. We are
going to talk through some events that I have personally been a part of. Let’s first talk about some helpful tips that you
can use in addition to the Check It techniques to be agents of change in oppressive situations.
Tips for Intervening (explain tips)
1. Ask clarifying questions.
2. Engage in active listening, do not interrupt.
3. Be open to understanding a worldview other than your own.
4. Criticize ideas without demeaning the person who expressed them.
5. Admit what you do not know.
6. Use analogies during the dialogue
7. Support others’ right to have their opinions.
8. Speak from personal experience. Use “I” statements.
9. Use statistics or facts. Share new information or knowledge.
10. Demonstrate patience.
Remind folks that the suggestions for dialogue that we have been working within, are also useful suggestions for
potentially addressing oppressive situations. (Shows slide of Suggestions for Dialogue)

Perfectly Logical Explanations
As we begin to intervene into situations we may come across something known as a Perfectly Logical
Explanations, or PLEs if you would like. However, after discussing this dynamic I do not want us to go out and
shout PLE at people. PLE is just a way for you to better remember it as a term. My hope is that you will engage
in dialogue with people and help them understand how PLEs move us further from the socially just world we
all want to live in… So what are Perfectly Logical Explanation when it comes to social justice? These are
statements that people make during conversations about oppression that often invalidate another person’s
experience of marginalization. Often people will avoid seeing oppression as the cause of issues, and instead
will explain how there is a perfectly logical explanation for the event that had nothing to do with an ism
(racism, sexism, ableism, etc…).
This has to do with a cognitive dissonance that people experience when something makes them
uncomfortable by challenging their deeply held beliefs. This typically occurs when a person with privileged
identities invalidates the oppressive experience of another person, but people who are in oppressed group
may utilize PLEs as well. Sometimes it’s just easier for anybody to believe that racism, sexism, heterosexism,
ableism or other -isms aren’t at the root of a negative interaction.
PLEs can take many forms. Here are some common ones:
 Yea, but …
 That happens to me/my group, too …
23








I know someone who is (shared identity), and they don’t agree with you.
I don’t see it that way (and therefore, it doesn’t really happen) …
That doesn’t happen to me (so it doesn’t exist) …
That was not my intent! I did not mean to! You misunderstood me. (Stepping on toe analogy).
You’re overreacting… You’re too sensitive …
They are a good person. They never meant to do that.
I’m sure that person didn’t mean to…
That person probably just didn’t …

Share chivalry example in PPT. Growing up I saw men treat women as weaker, less capable, and less
competent. They, including myself, would offer to opening bottles, carrying everything heavy, open all doors,
and The PLE that men often explained was that this how a gentlemen treat women, all in the name of
chivalry. However, these kinds of actions are actually saying that women are not strong enough, capable
enough, or competent enough.
Strong agents of change will notice when they or another person uses a perfectly logical explanation to
diminish the experiences of other people. This can happen in classes, during meetings, while watching a movie
with friends, or even when we are just walking around Arcata. Agents of change make it a point to notice
when people’s experiences are being invalidated and then bring up a discussion of that dynamic within the
group. Again this conversation does not sound like, “Hey that is a PLE”. Ask people if that made them feel
invalidated. Prompt people to think about the relevant ism a little further before moving on. Encourage
people to consider the causes of issues they may be emotionally uncomfortable for them before they resort to
the logical reasons that are so easy for them to accept. Let’s now talk about strategies we can use to
effectively be an agent of change, notice oppression when it occurs, and engage those around us in social
justice work.
Practice Addressing Oppressive Situations
Now let’s talk through some situations that I have been a part of in some way. I’m going to ask you all to share how you
think you could address the situation. How you could be the agent of change in the situation. (If people want I will say
how I responded.)
1. When I was a new Assistant Resident Director, I overheard one of my residents tell another resident, “You are
supposed to be good at math. You are Asian.”
2. When I was home for Christmas a few years ago, my sister and I were out buying gifts for people. When we
looked at one potential gift, she said, “That is so gay”.
3. During my first year of graduate school, I remember sitting in class and I must have made a mistake because I
lowered my head and exclaimed, “I am retarded.”
4. After I returned from Kauai, Susie and I were riding the bus to the mall when a guy standing next to me, looked
at my hat, and said, “That’s a women’s hat.”
5. A white male professor of mine showed respect for his students by addressing them with sir and ma’am. I knew
that at least one person in the class identified as gender non-conforming.
6. On Sunday morning I woke up and opened Facebook, as I usually do. One of the first posts I saw was by
somebody from my small hometown. It said, “White privilege doesn’t exist. That is reverse racism.”
24

Maintaining Hope and Resiliency
Frequently the work is hard. Advocating for social justice if difficult no matter who you are, although
undoubtedly further taxing for some than others. The self-work is especially hard. Engaging in social justice
work seems to go one of two ways: People will frequently appreciate the change you bring. These are the
times when I feel like a stone that is continually tossed into a still lake. When we engage in social justice, when
we intervene in oppressive situations, offer what we have learned to those who have not yet learned, or we
engage in dialogue needed to move our group toward a stronger value of social justice, we are a stone that
causes a ripple in an otherwise still environment. A ripple may be just what others have been waiting for.
These are the wins that motivate me. The ones that I believe will lead to future changes. These are the wins,
no matter how small, that I believe add up over time and lead to bigger changes.
Now I want to talk about the other ways it could go. Our efforts can be met with relentless opposition.
Sometimes, our efforts to be the ripple push up against traditional ways of doing things and oppressive norms
that are so ingrained that I feel defeated before I even begin. These are the times when I feel instead like a
stone that was tossed onto a frozen lake. People might resist not only my ideas about social justice but also all
that I stand for. It can seem like no matter how hard I try, it is impossible to make an impact. People are so
stuck in their ways that there is really no point in trying to change their mind. Feeling isolated and alone, I
then begin to second guess my commitments to social justice, my view of what is right and wrong, and even
how I have been going about social justice. In these times, it can be hard to maintain hope. These are the
times when social justice is overwhelming, but it might also be when change is needed most. Even though it is
very hard for me to sometimes remember, I find that if I am patient, and resilient, I will find a way to make a
ripple. Even when I was in Anchorage, Alaska, I found that the ice always melted come summer.
For the next 5 minutes, I want you to reflect on this question: What is your ripple doing for the world and how
do you remember that when there is relentless opposition?
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovj5dzMxzmc (5 mins)
This is why we must all contribute to the ripple in our communities. I show this video to illustrate how I
maintain hope. Like in the video, I believe that my efforts to foster social justice will inspire the others to do so
in the future. This is what I try to remember when I feel like I’m sitting on the frozen pond with no idea of how
to move forward. This is why I celebrate small wins, even if it is a round of applause that is only in my mind, it
reminds me that my actions can have an impact that lasts longer than myself. The second reason this video
resonates with me is because of the reciprocal benefit to both men. I think it shows that social justice is not
something we foster for others, but rather that our lives are improved throughout the process as well. One of
the quotes on my title slide is from Lila Watson. “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But
if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” If you can think
back and remember one thing from this presentation when you are struggling to make change, I hope it is this.
Each person in this room can be the support we need remain resilient, to stay hopeful and to help us
remember why we started in the first place. Our liberation is bound together. We may all benefit differently
from dismantling systems of oppression, be we will all benefit none the less. We are truly in this together.
25

Reflective Journal - Phase 4
Instruct people to respond to the following questions that are provided on the reflective journal portion of the
handout packet.

1. How can you utilize skills in tracking and triggering to address microaggressions, appropriation and
assimilation?

2. How can you apply what you have learned today to your work in Housing?

3. What is your ripple doing for the world and how do you remember that when there is relentless
opposition?

26

Reflective Journal Phase 1
Instruct people to respond to the following questions that are provided on the reflective journal portion of the
handout packet.
1. What have you learned about yourself?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
2. How did it feel to circle your identities and see them placed under privileged and marginalized categories?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
3. What is the most meaningful thing you have learned so far today about power, privilege and oppression?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________

27

Reflective Journal Phase 2
Instruct people to respond to the following questions that are provided on the reflective journal portion of the
handout packet.
1. Choose one of your marginalized social identities and write down the first 5-10 things that come to mind
about how you learned to be that identity?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
2. Choose one of your privileged social identities and write down the first 5-10 things that come to mind
about how you learned to be that identity?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
3. Reflecting on your own “Core of the Cycle”, what has kept you inside the circle?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
28

Reflective Journal Phase 3
Instruct people to respond to the following questions that are provided on the reflective journal portion of the
handout packet.
1. What emotions came up for you during our discussion about microaggressions, assimilation and
appropriation?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
2. Describe a time when you felt the need to assimilate to the culture of others? How did this make you feel?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
3. List as many other examples of cultural appropriation as you can think of?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
29

Reflective Journal Phase 4
Instruct people to respond to the following questions that are provided on the reflective journal portion of the
handout packet.
1. How can you utilize skills in tracking and triggering to address microaggressions, appropriation and
assimilation?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
2. How can you apply what you have learned today to your work in Housing?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
3. What is your ripple doing for the world and how do you remember that when there is relentless
opposition?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________________
30

Microaggressions Example Table
Themes
Alien in Own Land: When people
of color are assumed to be
"foreigners."

Microaggression Examples
Where are you from? Where were you born? You
speak good English. You don't even speak with an
accent. How long have you been in the States?

Assuming that Asians are naturally more
intelligent in the sciences and math.

Ascription of Intelligence:
Assigning intelligence to a person
based on their race, gender or
(perceived) abilities.

Assuming that it is unusual for African
Americans or Latinos to be in an academically
rigorous program or prestigious university.
"Oh, you are a bio major? Are you studying to be a
nurse?" (when said to a woman)

Implicit Message

You are not American. You do not belong.

Asians are naturally gifted in the sciences and
math; they do not work hard for it.

People of color are not as intelligent as Whites. It
is unusual for them to be intelligent or articulate.
Women are not smart enough to be doctors men would rarely, if ever, be asked this question.

"You get a note taker for every class? Why can't
Students with learning or other invisible disabilities
you take your own notes?" (when said to a student
are not smart enough.
with a learning disability)

"Intrinsic Skills" & "Personality
Types": Using stereotypes of race,
gender and sexual orientation to
assume an individual's interests and
talents.

"You're gay? You have to give me some
decorating tips!"

All gay men are interested and talented in
interior design and decorating

Women in power lead by emotion and are too
sensitive!

Women are "genetically" emotional & sensitive;
they are not intelligent, rational and impartial.

Are you here on a basketball scholarship? (when
asked of African American students)

When I look at you, I don't see color.
"Color Blindness": Statements
that indicate that a White person
does not want to acknowledge race
(or a heterosexual person does not
want to acknowledge sexual
orientation). Please note that use
of the term "blindness" itself is very
problematic here.

Denying a person of color's racial or
ethnic experiences.

America is a melting pot.

Assimilate to the dominant culture.

She's so independent, you wouldn't even know
she's in a wheelchair!

Wheelchair users are unable to be independent

There is only one race, the human race.

Denying the individual as a racially or culturally
different human being.

I don't support gay rights because they are
"special rights" - everyone is equal!

Denying that LGBTQ people are treated
differently in our society.

If something comes up missing or a fight ensues, a
Black or Latino person is assumed to be the culprit.

You are a criminal.

If a group of Black male students are walking
down a street with dark hoodies, they are
assumed to be dangerous.
Criminality: A person is presumed
to be dangerous, criminal, or
deviant based on their race,
nationality and/or sexual orientation.

African Americans are good at basketball and that
is the only way they would be able to attend our
college.

If a group of students of color are sitting together
in a public place, they are "self segregating" or
must be talking badly about Whites.

Beware of people wearing a head scarf!

You are dangerous and poor. You do not belong
at the university.

You are not to be trusted in a group; you are out
to harm the majority.
You are part of the enemy, and I need to be wary.
Your clothing identifies you as a terrorist. I don't
need to know anything else about you.

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Themes

Themes

Denial of Individual Prejudice: A
statement made by those with
social privilege to deny that they
have that privilege or any
oppressive thinking.

Myth of Meritocracy: Statements
which assert that race, class,
gender, abilities or sexual
orientation do not play a role in life
success.

Microaggression Examples

Implicit Message

I wouldn't want my children to be taught by
gay/lesbian teachers

LGBT people are sexually deviant and would try
and recruit young people in to the "gay lifestyle" or
even sexually abuse them.

Microaggression Examples

Implicit Message

I can't be racist. My friend is Puerto Rican . . . I
voted for Obama . . . My girlfriend is Asian, etc.

I am immune to racism because I have had positive
associations or relationships with people of color.

As a woman, I know what you go through as a
racial minority.

Your racial oppression is no different than my gender
oppression. All forms of discrimination are equal.

I am not homophobic - I have gay friends, and I
love Project Runway!

I am immune to homophobia because I have LGBT
friends and/or I associate with mainstream
stereotypes of queerness

I believe that the smartest and most qualified
students should be admitted. The most qualified
person should get the job.

People of color are given extra unfair benefits
because of their race.

We all know she got hired because she is a
woman! (when said in a male dominated field)

I don't see why students with ADHD get extra time Students with learning or other invisible disabilities
to complete exams? Everyone would benefit from are not smart enough - they are just using the system
having extra time on exams!
to get an unfair advantage.

Everyone can succeed if they work hard - just
look at Obama!

When the needs or complaints of White parents,
students, alumni and faculty are taken more
seriously than those from people of color.

Second-Class Citizen: Occurs
when a person with social privilege
is given preferential treatment over
people with oppressed identities.

Women are not as qualified as male candidates;
Gender was "used" as a way to get ahead.

People of color are lazy, incompetent, and just like to
complain if they don't get what they want. Individual
exceptions (such as President Obama) are evoked to
justify this stance.
Whites are more valued customers and employees.
People of color should be content with what they get.

An African American professor is mistaken for a
service worker.

People of color are not as successful as Whites; it's
unlikely that they would occupy a high status
position.

I have done a lot for you people or your race or
minorities . . . .

You are a lesser being who needs to be grateful for
the charity given to you by the majority.

We can't have a woman president! All of the
world leaders are mostly men, and they would
just walk all over her!

Women's leadership abilities do not compare to
those of men.

I'm not sure if we should hire a blind person for this
job - there is no way she could do as well as a
normal person.

People with disabilities are unable to perform job
duties at the same level as able bodied individuals.
There are no accommodations (such as adaptive
technology) that could mitigate any performance
concerns.

We can't have a lesbian chancellor! She would
come in with her own agenda, and we don't want
an activist leader - it would disrupt alumni giving!

Assumes that all LGBTQ people have an "agenda"
and that all straight people do not. Discrimination is
often justified through raising alarm about morale,
money, or other material threats.

You have to cover your head? It's too bad that
women are so oppressed in your culture!

Your religious or cultural traditions are inferior and
oppressive. Women have no agency at all.

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Themes

Religious or Cultural Superiority:
When a person assumes that their
race, religion, or culture (broadly
defined) is better than others'.

Themes

Microaggression Examples

Implicit Message

You are engaged to someone you never met?
What about falling in love? You didn't stand up
for your independence?

Your traditions are ridiculous. Your parents don't care
about you. The only way to get married is the way we
do it here.

Why do I have to live with foreigners? Their food
stinks and their clothes smell!

People from other countries are inferior. My culture
and traditions are better. Living with someone from
another country will diminish my quality of life.

A university closes on Good Friday but schedules
its opening weekend on Yom Kippur.

Christian observances are more important than
those of other religions. Your religious observances
should not take precedence over a university
function.

Microaggression Examples

Implicit Message

A college or university with buildings all or mostly
named after White upper middle class males or
heterosexual couples.

You don't belong. You are just visitors here. There is
only so far you can succeed. Your achievements will
not be memorialized.

Many of the university events are held in
inaccessible spaces or spaces that require
significant work and planning to access.

Your attendance and participation is not as important
to us. If you want to come, you need to plan ahead of
time - it is your responsibility to ensure your access to
these events.

A college or university that does not offer classes in This learning is not important. The histories, issues,
race, gender, LGBTQ, or disability studies, OR
and perspectives of White men are essential
does not require its graduates to learn about
knowledge for success during and after college, while
systems of privilege and oppression.
learning any other perspectives is not important.
Environmental Microaggressions:
Ways in which larger systems
beyond the individual realm (such
Women students' needs are not as important to us.
There is no women's center on campus.
as institutional policies and
Women are treated completely equally to men.
practices) work to maintain systems
of privilege and oppression.
It costs significantly more for LGBTQ faculty and
Institutions expect LGBTQ faculty and staff to cover
staff to cover their partners under the university's
health insurance because this is a federally taxed
benefit.

this difference out of pocket. Your family's well being
is not as important to us.

The only options for gender on university forms are Transgender individuals do not belong or matter here.
"male" and "female"
TV shows and movies that feature predominantly
White programs, without "diverse" representation of
people of color.

Overcrowding of public schools, lack of
sidewalks, overabundance of liquor stores, and
lack of green groceries in communities of color.

You don't exist. If you do exist, it is as a one- or
two-dimensional stereotype.

People of color don't or should not value education,
fresh food, exercise, and a quality living environment.

Notes or Additions:

References:
Sue, Derald Wing. 2007. “Racial Microagressions in Everyday Life: Implications for Clinical Practice.” American Psychologist . 271- 286.
Burak, Kim, Taneja. 2009. Adaptations of Microaggressions Tables. Syracuse University
Grabsch D. K., Rotter, C. 2010. Microaggressions and Student Affairs Practice. Texas A&M University

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Table of Complex Identities

GROUPS THAT EXPERIENCE
PRIVILEGE IN A U.S. CONTEXT

GROUPS THAT ARE MARGINALIZED OR
OPPRESSED IN A U.S. CONTEXT

1. GENDER

MEN

WOMEN; TRANS; GENDERQUEER; INTERSEX

2. GENDER IDENTITY

CISGENDER/NON‐TRANS

3. RACE

WHITE PEOPLE

TRANSGENDER; GENDERQUEER; GENDER
NON‐CONFORMING
PEOPLE OF COLOR

4. SEXUAL ORIENTATION

HETEROSEXUAL

5. AGE

30S TO EARLY 50S

6. CLASS

MIDDLE CLASS; OWNING
CLASS

WORKING POOR; WORKING CLASS

7. EDUCATIONAL LEVEL

COLLEGE GRADUATE

HIGH SCHOOL OR LESS

GAY; LESBIAN; BISEXUAL; QUEER;
QUESTIONING
YOUNGER AND OLDER

8. RELIGION/SPIRITUALITY CHRISTIAN: PROTESTANT OR
CATHOLIC

MUSLIM; JEWISH; BUDDHIST; HINDU; LDS;
SIKH; PAGAN; AGNOSTIC; ATHEIST; ETC.

9. NATIONALITY

U.S.‐BORN; BORN AS U.S.
CITIZEN

BORN OUTSIDE THE U.S.; IMMIGRANT TO
U.S.; UNDOCUMENTED

RAISED BY BIOLOGICAL OR
ADOPTIVE FAMILY IN AN
ENVIRONMENT THAT FELT
SAFE AND WITHOUT ABUSE

RAISED IN THE FOSTER SYSTEM; RAISED
WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, WITH DRUG OR
ALCOHOL ABUSE IN THE HOME, AND/OR
OTHER HOME EXPERIENCES THAT FELT
UNSAFE AND LACKED STABILITY

11. ABILITY/DISABILITY

TEMPORARILY ABLE‐BODIED

PEOPLE WITH A PHYSICAL, MENTAL,
EMOTIONAL, OR LEARNING DISABILITY

12. ETHNICITY/CULTURE

WESTERN EUROPEAN

PUERTO RICAN, DINÉ, MEXICAN, NIGERIAN,
JEWISH, RUSSIAN, CHINESE, IRANIAN, ETC.

13. SIZE/APPEARANCE

SLENDER; PERCEIVED AS
ATTRACTIVE; HANDSOME;
BEAUTIFUL; ETC.

OF SIZE; PARTICULARLY TALL OR SHORT;
PERCEIVED AS UNATTRACTIVE; ETC.

14. USE OF ENGLISH

“PROPER” ENGLISH

ACCENTED ENGLISH; ANOTHER PRIMARY
LANGUAGE

15. MARITAL/PARENTAL
STATUS

MARRIED IN A HETEROSEXUAL
RELATIONSHIP WITH OR
WITHOUT CHILDREN

DIVORCED; LGBTQ PARENT; DOMESTIC
PARTNERSHIP; SINGLE PARENT, SINGLE‐ NO
CHILDREN

10. CHILDHOOD FAMILY
STRUCTURE

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Table of Complex Identities Reflection
Take a few minutes to reflect on the questions below, using the information you provided on the previous
page.
1. How did it feel to do this activity?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
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__________________________________________________________________________________________
2. What was easy? What was challenging?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
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3. Write down the identities that you think about most often.
__________________________________________________________________________________________
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4. List the identities that you do not think about very regularly.
__________________________________________________________________________________________
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5. Were there identities that became visible to you as a result of this exercise?
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6. Why might you think more about some of your group identities than others?
__________________________________________________________________________________________
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7. What experiences are in your mind as a result of this activity? What identities are they linked to?
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