Georgetown takes 'A.C.T.I.O.N.' against 'microaggressions in medicine'

Georgetown University will begin a "microaggressions in medicine" initiative, as well as a "Bias Reduction and Improvement Coaching" program.

Both programs are aimed at helping faculty and staff how to respond to microaggressions.

A Georgetown University department will be starting a “Microaggressions in Medicine” initiative this winter, aiming to teach students how to respond to microaggressions.

The School of Medicine at Georgetown along with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will be sponsoring a “poster campaign,” with an aim at educating students on what to do about microaggressions.

“This campaign will work towards developing a response strategy BEFORE a microaggression appears, and building efficacy in faculty, staff, students, and trainees who must respond in real time to microaggressors,” the page states.

According to the Georgetown webpage, while microaggressions are a “brief” insult, they can have a “macro” effect.

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“Microaggressions can have a macro [e]ffect, particularly when considering the cumulative burden for individuals and organizations over time,” the webpage states. “Microaggressions show up everywhere in society including in our classrooms, clinics, hallways, on social media, in our neighborhood watch app, and at the grocery store!”

The poster campaign gives examples of possible microaggressions that someone in the medicinal field could encounter, such as “aren’t you a little old to be in medical school?” “They yelled HIV as a diagnosis after learning he was a gay male,” and “I’m assuming English wasn’t the first language for some of you.”

To respond to these microaggressions, Georgetown suggests that students take A.C.T.I.O.N.

In addition to the “Microaggressions in Medicine” campaign, the School of Medicine will also be starting a “Bias Reduction and Improvement Coaching” program.

The program takes faculty and staff across the medical school and teaches them how to “provide dialogues around unconscious and conscious bias awareness and reduction.”

Up to 25 faculty and staff members will be selected for the program and will be expected to attend four one to two-hour coaching sessions on “bias management,” including one “departmental/office facilitated interactive session on managing and reducing unconscious biases before they complete the program.

Benefits of the program include understanding “ the science and fundamentals of unconscious bias and bias mitigation” as well as “delv[ing] into specific ways that departments can identify and address opportunities and challenges.”

[RELATED: College rolls out colorful approach to ‘microaggressions’]

Rowan Saydlowski, a sophomore government and psychology major, told Campus Reform that while he believes Georgetown has good intentions behind the initiative, the concept of microaggressions is a “farce.”

“While I believe that Georgetown’s initiative is coming from a place of compassion, I think that the entire idea of microaggressions presented by the Left is a farce,” Saydlowski said. The average American and college leftists agree on instances of actual prejudice being bad, but for some reason, the Left has chosen to conflate these actual, intentional discriminatory statements with inoffensive and misconstrued statements under a single umbrella of “microaggressions.” 

He says the issue with Georgetown’s “A.C.T.I.O.N.” approach is that it instantly labels the person who supposedly said the microaggression as the “aggressor.”

“The ‘Take A.C.T.I.O.N.’ strategy’s very first step automatically labels the person who made the statement as an ‘aggressor,’ making the recipient of the statement into the judge, jury, and executioner,” Saydlowski said. “The final step says to “[r]equest appropriate action be taken” and multiple reporting systems are listed.”

Saydlowski contends that the mechanism enables “completely innocent” people to be subject to punishment because of an “innocent” statement that someone else misinterpreted as offensive.

“Since the offensiveness is determined by the recipient of the statement, there are no parameters to what language can or cannot be punished,” Saydlowski said.

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