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CRF Reflection: You Just Never Know

Posted October 20th, 2010 by mclaugke

Several times throughout my life I have had an individual or a group become angry or displeased at me for no apparent reason. Most of the times this occurred it was from an individual who held different identities than my own. When I say identities I mean social identities such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and many others. These types of occurrences used to make me very upset at the individuals because I believed they had no right to act this way towards me especially since I hadn’t done anything wrong. I kept being told that I should just take it because I had dominant identities such as being White, male, straight and many others. I was told it was just part of their process of understanding their identities and finding their fit into society based off of these identities.

I still believe an individual has no right to become upset towards another based off of their identities, also known as a micro aggression, but I understand that I may not be seeing the whole picture behind them. I am beginning to understand that occurrences before our interaction may have had that person on an emotional edge and no matter how small the push may have been I pushed them over.

I began to listen to others stories/events that had occurred throughout their lives and began to understand them better. I mean no wonder someone might be upset when I simply ask, “Where are you from?” Because it’s the 20th million time someone has asked it and most people don’t mean which state but rather which country. I try to understand why when I go to a party that mostly consists of people of color that they might be upset at my presence because this was going to be their one time that they didn’t have to think they had to deal with some White person again. I try to understand why women like women only spaces out without the contribution of a man. Also why a person who identifies as gay may hide their identity because of the countless times per day our generation uses their identity to describe something as bad.

In reality we have no clue where others are coming from or where they have just been. You never know when just saying “Gay” one more time in front of a person pushes them over that emotional edge. I hear that our generation is more accepting of others and their identities. Then why do these micro aggressions still occur? I believe we continue to remain uneducated about others, which is why horrible acts like hate crimes still happen. We have to truly be honest with ourselves in how we are acting, before we can actually confront the oppressions that are occurring in our day. We need to fight together and understand each other’s personal backgrounds/stories before we can truly hold respect for each other.

Kevin Rodemack

Community Relations Facilitator – Westside Quad comments shared by the Community Relations Facilitator program are strictly the point of view from the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of UHDS. If this article has inspired a desire to dialogue, the author, another CRF, and/or any Resident Assistant, Cooperative Director, or Resident Director would be happy to participate. Please contact (, UHDS Multicultural Resource Coordinator, to assist in making arrangements.

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