A professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has created an app for students to report microaggressions on campus.
Christy Byrd, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, created the app to gather more data on the amount and types of microaggressions that were occurring on campus. Between November 2015 and June 2016, Byrd’s app recorded 477 reports of microaggressions from over 250 students.
Professor Byrd created the app partially in response to her concern that microaggressions harm campus culture as well as the well-being of students. “My feeling is that a campus is a community, like a family,” Byrd says. “If your mother has a particular way she likes to stack her bowls in the dishwasher, even if you disagree, you go along with it because you love her. In terms of microaggressions and other offensive language, if someone tells you that what you … You might still disagree, but if you care about that person and want them as part of your community–your family–you go along with it.”
The app doesn’t define microaggressions for users and instead relies on users to submit any incident that they believe might constitute a microaggression. “From a psychological perspective,” Byrd says, “what’s important is what the person experiences, not how valid an outside person judges their experience.”
Byrd says that she hopes the app allows her to learn more about “where most people draw a line between microaggressions and overt discrimination,” adding that “even the existing research is not totally clear on where that is.” She claims that even though the data collected by the app is subjective based on the perception of an encounter by the user, the data is still viable and worthy of analysis.
Byrd also discovered that those who reported more microaggressions typically had lower self-esteem, a higher chance of depression, and lower feelings of competence.
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org