Attention, woke citizens. During the current lockdown, do you feel a need to “challenge microaggressions” – those “verbal, behavioural or environmental indignities that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial slights”? Specifically, those committed during video conferencing?
According to Michigan State University’s Amy Bonomi, director of the university’s Children and Youth Institute, and Neila Viveiros, associate vice chancellor for academic operations at the University of Colorado Denver, the expanded use of virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom and Skype has created “a ripe setting for unconscious bias.”
But of course. The frontier of indignation must forever expand.
“Unconscious bias includes using language, symbolism and nonverbal cues that reinforce normative social identities with respect to gender, race, sexual preference and socioeconomic status,” Bonomi said. “For example, when the virtual background of a Zoom meeting attendee has pictures of his or her wedding, it unintentionally reinforces the idea that marriage is most fitting between opposite sexes.”
It turns out that the reckless visibility of a wedding photo may be crushing the self-esteem out of the touchily unwed. You see, the mere sight of a photo of someone’s happy day can “crowd out the experiences of people with minoritized social identities,” albeit in ways never quite explained. Other taboos include references to “simple activities like family dance parties,” which are apparently a thing, and “gardening with a spouse.”
Curiously, given the stated importance of “sensitivity” and being mindful of what things might mean, we aren’t invited to ponder the kind of person who would resent someone else’s wedding photo. And then complain about it. Or whether such neurotic affectations, these unhappy mental habits, are something to be actively encouraged. In the name of progress.
Update, via the comments: