Campus News

‘Microaggressions’ topic of Alberti center conference

Unhappy Girl Being Bullied In Class.

Microaggressions are defined as everyday verbal, nonverbal and environmental slights that may or may not be intentional.

By CHARLES ANZALONE

Published September 6, 2018

headshot of Amanda Nickerson
“We are tackling the theme of microaggressions — the everyday comments and actions, often unintentional, that express prejudice toward a marginalized group.”
Amanda Nickerson, director
Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention

The Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention takes on the increasingly prevalent and timely issue of “microaggressions” at its annual conference being held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 2 at Classics V Banquet Center, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst.

Defined as “everyday verbal, nonverbal and environmental slights that may or may not be intentional, microaggressions communicate hostile, derogatory or negative messages,” according to F. Paul Lounsbury, training coordinator at People Inc., who will be presenting a breakout session on microaggressions and people with disabilities.

Delivering the keynote speech is Yolanda Flores Niemann, professor of psychology at the University of North Texas. Niemann will define and provide examples of microaggressions — beginning with her video “Microaggressions in the Classroom.” She will describe psychological consequences of this type of bullying.

Niemann also will discuss additional examples of and potential responses to everyday microaggressions with those attending the conference. Participants will learn to recognize microaggressions, understand how microaggressions are part of everyday bullying, gain knowledge of the psychological consequences of microaggressions and practice responding to microaggressions.

“We are tackling the theme of microaggressions — the everyday comments and actions, often unintentional, that express prejudice toward a marginalized group,” says Amanda B. Nickerson, director of the Alberti center. “Dr. Flores Niemann’s expertise in this area will provide an important foundation of how to recognize and intervene with microaggressions.”

Each year the Alberti center’s annual conference has attracted hundreds of national and local educators, social workers, counselors, law enforcement officials, parents and others who work with and counsel young people. Nickerson says she expects another full house of individuals concerned with supporting those affected by bullying behavior and committed to increasing awareness about the effects of bullying abuse.

This year’s featured afternoon breakout sessions include:

  • “Challenge to change: Facilitating conversations with high school students,” Annahita Ball, assistant professor, UB School of Social Work.
  • “‘I didn’t mean anything by it’ — Microaggressions toward people with disabilities,” F. Paul Lounsbury, training coordinator, People Inc.
  • “Respectful communication in the face of LGBTQ+ resistance,” Kayden Miller and Olivia Gast, LGBTQ Academy | Out Alliance.
  • “Speak up at school: How to respond to everyday prejudice, bias and stereotypes,” Emily Chiariello, diversity and educational equity consultant, Chiariello Consulting.

“Our afternoon breakout sessions will give participants a chance to learn about initiatives taking place here in Western New York to tackle these issues in relation to racial and ethnic minority groups, people with disabilities and LGBTQ youth,” says Nickerson who was named the center’s founding director when it officially launched in 2011.

Founded in 2010, the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention is dedicated to reducing bullying abuse in schools and in the community by contributing knowledge and providing evidence-based tools to effectively change the language, attitudes and behaviors of educators, parents, students and society.

More information on the conference, including details on registration, can be found on the Alberti center’s website or by contacting Brie Kishel at 716-645-1532. The deadline for registration is Sept. 21.