By now you’ve likely heard that a McGill University student and member of the Students Society of McGill University (SSMU) posted a faked video of U.S. president Barack Obama kicking at a door following a news conference. The student, Brian Farnan, reportedly sent the video to friends in an attempt to provide relief from exams. The caption, we’re told, read “honestly midterms get out of here.”
A complaint was lodged against Mr. Farnan, suggesting he had engaged in a racially insensitive act. The result? A written apology and an agreement to undergo sensitivity training.
Mr. Farnan’s act of forwarding the faked video (which Jay Leno had aired on The Tonight Show), was in his apology deemed to have maligned “people of colour, particularly young men, being portrayed as violent in contemporary culture and media.” Farnan added “by using this particular image of President Obama, I unknowingly perpetuated this living legacy and subsequently allowed a medium of SSMU’s communication to become the site of microaggression; for this I am deeply sorry.”
The apology was distributed to 22,000 McGill undergraduates.
Microaggressions,as Graeme Hamilton writes in the National Post, can take many forms in post-secondary institutions of learning. A professor at the University of California says he was last year accused of microaggression by minority students for correcting grammar and spelling in their dissertations.
Would it be another microaggression if one were to wonder what the professor should have done. He is, after all, a professor of education.
I always believed universities were centres of critical thinking. More, in at least some cases, centres of expected politically correct thinking it would appear.
Today we’ll talk about the issue of microaggression at the university level and hear your thoughts.
It appears there has been some considerable reaction among students at McGill to the Brian Farnan, SSMU, microaggressions incident, with many students challenging the SSMU.
A prominent McGill alumnus, Montreal Constitutional lawyer Julius Grey will join us. He’s a former president of the SSMU and was himself accused of microaggression when during a speech at McGill, Mr. Grey called for the assimilation of ethnic groups.
Ron Miller is African American, an associate dean of Liberty University in the U.S. HIs website is www.RononTheRight.com. Ron Miller will also join us to share his thoughts on microaggression.