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Microaggression Training Class: Eradicating Unconscious Prejudice

Microaggression Training Class: Eradicating Unconscious Prejudice

“Modern day caste protocols are less often about overt attacks or conscious hostility, and can be dispiritingly hard to fight. They are like the wind—powerful enough to knock you down but invisible as they go about their work,” writes Isabel Wilkerson in her bestselling book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” (Random House, August 2020). This well describes the subtle yet destructive effects of microaggressions, defined in Merriam-Webster as “comments or actions that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority).”

Ruby N. Lewis, of Vancouver, created the Microaggression Training Board Game as part of her full class curriculum.

Ruby N. Lewis, of Vancouver, seeks to expose and eradicate this cultural behavior through her Microaggression Training Class, taking place this month online and cosponsored by her own private company, Unlimited Creative Corporations, and NAACP Vancouver Branch 1139-B, of which she is the current secretary. Lewis was inspired to create the class after observing how local Vancouver teachers and staff treated her child in response to severe bullying from her peers throughout elementary school. The situation escalated to the point of Lewis withdrawing her child from public school altogether, and moving her to an online curriculum. “By the time I pulled my daughter out of public physical school,” she wrote me in an email, “the teachers and staff and other kids had damaged her so much that she was suicidal, had a lot of self-hatred, and didn’t like being black.” Because the damage her child suffered started in school, she originally designed the course for public schools, even creating a physical board game that guides students through the curriculum in an engaging format.

She completed the Microaggression Training Class plan in January 2019, and began teaching it privately the following month. Several months later, Clark College noticed and asked Lewis to teach the class in their economic and community development department, which she did in person from January 2020 to March 2020. The experience was challenging for many class participants. “I find that there are a lot of people who make tons of excuses as to why people are ‘whiners,’” she said. “It is very sad when certain people try and explain their rationale for how they think microaggressions are no big deal. Picture this, would you rather be beat up one time for 15 minutes by one person or would you rather be beat up 10,000 times over the course of a year by different quantities of people for 15 minutes? . . . Many people don’t understand just how microaggressions damage and destroy not only adults but children as well. Microaggressions in children have been known to cause eating disorders, binge drinking, self-hatred, low self-esteem, suicidal ideation and attempts, and even a degression in school academic progress or interest.”

Since COVID-19 hit, Lewis has been unable to teach her full version class in person, but this month she is offering single introductory online classes designed to help anyone learn what microaggressions are, how words and actions harm others even unintentionally, and how implicit bias affects individuals and companies. This month’s classes are being offered as a single introductory class taught on three different dates in February, with separate classes for youth ages 13-17 and adults age 18+. Registration is $49.99 for individual youth and $99.99 for individual adults. Schools and organizations get a special group rate of $125.98 for a youth group or $249.99 for an adult group—both with a maximum of 50 people in the group for that price. Individuals and groups can choose to attend any of the offered February dates (see schedule below).

With the right mindset and a readiness to learn, Lewis said, “anyone would benefit from these classes. We all have biases. My class helps people with self-discovery, to learn how not to push those biases onto someone else, and what to do when they use microaggressions either intentionally or unintentionally.”

Microaggression Training Class for Youth Schedule:
Saturday, February 6, 2021 / 3-4 pm
Saturday, February 13, 2021 / 3-4 pm
Saturday, February 20, 2021 / 3-4 pm

Microaggression Training Class for Adults Schedule:
Saturday, February 6, 2021 / 4:30-5:30 pm
Saturday, February 13, 2021 / 4:30-5:30 pm
Saturday, February 20, 2021 / 4:30-5:30 pm

Register at naacpvancouverwa.org
Purchase the Microaggression Training Board Game, poster or other merch at officialuccp.com/store-mat
More information on Microaggression Training’s Facebook Page: facebook.com/microaggressiontraining

Nikki Klock became co-owner and editor of Vancouver Family Magazine in September 2006. She grew up mainly in the Northwest and graduated from Utah Valley University. She is an avid reader and insists that a book is (almost) always better than a movie. She has lived in Vancouver with her husband, JR, and two daughters since 2003. Check out Nikki's Editor’s Picks here.

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