Daring to Ask About Tanning Salons Is the Latest ‘Microaggression’ on Campus

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By Andrew Stiles | 1:11 pm, January 13, 2017
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Asking about tanning salons is the latest campus “microagression,” according to the The Daily Emerald, the student-run publication at the University of Oregon.

The paper, which was recently investigated by the University’s “bias response team” for its lack of transgender coverage, has been running a multi-part series on “identifying discrimination” on campus.

Part four of the series is devoted to “privilege and support,” and recounts one student’s experience being unfairly associated with tanning salons. The student, Seela Sankey, is an international student from Kenya who “came to UO with a dark tan, but in the winter, she said her skin tone lightens and she tans orange.” Sankey recalled an occasion when another student “ran up to her in the rain and asked her which tanning salon she went to.”

The remark was apparently seen as contributing to marginalization on campus, where efforts abound to stamp out “microaggressions,” or subtle acts of discrimination. Sankey, in an interview with The Daily Emerald, suggested the student should have framed her question differently.

“Let’s say I’m running to class,” she said. “If you want to talk to me, be like ‘I know you’re in a hurry, but I was really attracted to your skin tone.’ And then I would explain it to you.”