Editor's Note: Today's Blog is written by Jen Coslett
Micro-Aggression. Really?! That’s a thing?! Aggression is aggression and size doesn’t matter, right?!
So. Much. Wrong.
I sat, awestruck (and admittedly “fangirling out”) as Bill Konigsberg gave his keynote address at the 2016 KATE Conference. When he delved into defining micro-aggression, my fangirl persona dissipated and my teacher/social worker/mama heart sunk. I’ve always considered myself an advocate and now facts that proved my failure were being spread out before me. I have been micro-aggressive. My family and friends have been micro-aggressive. I felt like such a hypocrite.
You see, I’m a coach’s wife. Not just a run of the mill coach’s wife, I’m a football coach’s wife. We are a football couple raising football kids in a football home. Faith, Family, Football. Rah, Rah, Rah. I have always loved this identity for my husband, myself, and my children.
That is, until Mr. Konigsberg’s words pierced my heart.
I was nauseous as the realization that everyone in my family---my husband, myself, my children, and our football family of fellow coaches, players, and parents---has perpetuated, and continues to perpetuate acts of micro-aggression. Every time our team punts, each one of us screams one five letter word that had always seemed so benign.
As the ball hits the turf, our players scatter avoiding any possible contact with that ball. All the while, everyone---players, coaches, parents, fans---all scream at the top of our lungs, “Peter! Peter! Peter!”
This isn’t simply an unfortunate choice for titling a play call. This isn’t an inadvertent use of a name that matches some poor kid named Peter. No. No. No. This is deliberate. And, now, thanks to Mr. Konigsberg I am able to recognize, this is unacceptable.
You see, as we all scream, “Peter! Peter! Peter!” we might as well be screaming, “Penis! Penis! Penis!” The whole point of this chant is to remind and encourage players to stay away. To get back. To avoid.
Steve Maack, in one of the breakout sessions during the conference, commented that micro-aggression is like a papercut. It cuts. It hurts. It’s annoying. It’s a constantreminder.
Thank you to Mr. Konigsberg, and the many other presenters, who selflessly provided a definition of and a framework to move beyond micro-aggression.
We all need to be better. I need to be better.