Finally — A Strong Critique of Microaggression ‘Research’ | National Review

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It takes guts for an academic to say anything derogatory about many of the “progressive” beliefs that swirl around America these days. One of those is that so-called microaggressions are a dire problem that calls for much expenditure of resources to combat — and that they exemplify our racist culture and inflict serious harm on the minority individuals who constantly hear them.

The belief that we have to do something about microaggressions has swept our institutions with scarcely any critical analysis. But now we have a strong, skeptical response. Professors Edward Cantu and Lee Jussim have written a law-review article that pulls back the curtain to reveal that there is nothing scientific behind the claims about microaggressions. In today’s Martin Center article, I discuss their findings.

They write that the reaction to the papers purporting to show what a problem we have was a matter of “confirmation bias canceling vigilance.” Because most academics liked the message, few raised any questions. By the normal standards of academic research, the work on microaggressions was little more than a vague hypothesis.

On the rare occasions when a scholar did ask probing questions (as in the case of the late Scott Lilienfield of Emory), he was hit with a barrage of personal attacks rather than a scholarly response.

The authors point out the damage that the obsession over microaggressions is doing to free speech on our campuses and how it is creeping into the law.

As I said, it took guts to write this. I tip my hat to the authors and hope that their work might help to arrest the runaway microaggression train.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.