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Basic Sciences scenarios

Understanding and Responding to Microaggressions workshop
Basic Science Scenarios handout
Scenario #1
Esther, a staff member in the department office, answered a phone call to discuss an issue that a vendor
Wiley had during their visit to the department last week. Thirty seconds into the conversation, Wiley was
becoming increasingly rude, and eventually asked to speak to another office member stating, "It is
obvious you aren't from here so you can't be in charge."
Scenario #2
During a weekly departmental faculty meeting, it was stated that the Department would increase efforts
to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data for all community members (faculty, staff,
students/trainees). It was also announced that at least one meeting each quarter would feature topics
related to LGBT+ issues and concerns. As they were leaving the room after the meeting’s end, a faculty
was overheard saying “Why do we have to keep collecting this data? Who cares about someone’s gender
identity? You’re either a woman or a man.”
Scenario #3
Tarley and Devila, coworkers at a campus core facility, were excitedly discussing the Juneteenth shirts
they purchased to wear to the work celebration next week when Wolvina the facility manager walked up
to them. She indicated that she overheard them and told them they would be unable to wear the
Juneteenth shirts to work, saying “It is unprofessional and makes people uncomfortable. Also, I don’t get
the big deal about Juneteenth anyway – I first learned about it last year, so it is just a made-up
holiday. Speaking of dress code, your Black Lives Matter pins are also unprofessional and should not be
worn at work. All lives matter anyway, so what message are you trying to send?”
Scenario #4
The hiring committee for a new Director in your department consists of a range of staff and faculty from
the department, however, the two co-chairs of the committee who have the final say are the department’s
business manager Mr. Charlotte and the vice-chair of the department Mrs. Carolina. You and a few of the
other staff members notice that Mr. Charlotte and Mrs. Carolina tend to speak more enthusiastically
about candidates that are white men, compared to candidates that identify as women and non-white. For
the latter candidates, they could not identify particularly negative aspects of their applications but rather
stated that “they are not a good fit.”
REMINDER: Tips for Responding to Microaggressions:
• Confirm what you heard to make sure that it’s correct
I heard you say…
• Ask for clarification
What did you mean by that?
• Try to understand the intent/feelings of the speaker and give them the benefit of the doubt when you
believe the microaggressions was unintentional
I can understand…
• Focus on the impact and how the action/comment could be received
I doubt you intended x, but this is how I received that comment/action.
• Express your feelings
Your statement made me feel……
• Pushback against stereotypes
Actually, I don’t agree. In my experience, I have found that…
• Highlight their values
I know you to be (awesome)... and that statement conflicts with the personal values that we share.
• Encourage empathy
How would you feel if…