New York Times Writer’s Tweet About Mirai Nagasu Sparks Controversy


“However, Weiss may have missed the point of the criticism. For minorities in the U.S., not being white often means having your status as an American questioned. It comes in the form of microaggressions such as being asked “No, where are you really from?” or being told to “go back to your country” because it’s assumed you can’t really be from the United States.”

Doha Madani

New York Times Writer's Tweet About Mirai Nagasu Sparks Controversy
Bari Weiss, an op-ed writer for The New York Times, triggered an intense online debate on Monday when she tweeted about Mirai Nagasu’s historic Olympic performance.

Bari Weiss, an op-ed writer for The New York Times, triggered an intense online debate on Monday when she tweeted about Mirai Nagasu’s historic Olympic performance.

Weiss captioned a video from the NBC Olympics account “Immigrants: they get the job done,” after Nagasu became the the first American woman to land a triple axel in Olympic competition.

The problem is that Nagasu isn’t an immigrant. She was born in California to Japanese immigrants and maintained dual U.S. and Japanese citizenship until she was 22 years old.

Many people criticized Weiss’ now-deleted tweet for “othering” Nagasu ? implying that because she is not white, she is an immigrant.

Weiss pushed back, saying she’d used poetic license in quoting the line from the wildly popular Broadway show “Hamilton.”

“Wow, this is utterly breathtaking in its bad faith,” Weiss responded to one critic. “Her parents are immigrants. And my tweet was obviously meant to celebrate her accomplishments. Perhaps you’d be more comfortable with an outlet like Think Progress making the same point.”

View image on Twitter

To be fair, it is clear that Weiss meant to be positive and praise Nagasu for her history-making performance at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Weiss defended herself by saying that many outlets were celebrating Nagasu as the child of immigrants, including HuffPost. Weiss characterized the backlash to her tweet as “another sign of civilization’s end.”

However, Weiss may have missed the point of the criticism. For minorities in the U.S., not being white often means having your status as an American questioned. It comes in the form of microaggressions such as being asked “No, where are you really from?” or being told to “go back to your country” because it’s assumed you can’t really be from the United States.

The fervor with which people attacked Weiss’ tweet may also be partly due to her reputation for controversial viewpoints. The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald described Weiss as a writer “who thrives on cheap, easy, and superficial ‘controversy’” after the Times hired her.

Daniel Solorzano: Naming the Pain of Microaggressions

In 2001, after hearing a presentation given at the University of Michigan by Professors Daniel Solorzano and Walter Allen on racial microaggressions – defined as everyday verbal and non-verbal, layered, and cumulative assaults directed toward People of Color – a high school student in the audience addressed the UCLA professors with a heart-wrenching admission.

“She was crying,” says Professor Solorzano, a professor in the division of Social Sciences and Comparative Education (SSCE) at UCLA Ed & IS. “The first thing she said when she spoke was, ‘You’ve given me a name for my pain.’”

Professor Solorzano says that while most people do not know the word or definition of a microaggression, they easily can recognize one when they experience it.

“If you asked a person on the street about racial microaggressions, they would probably say, ‘What are you talking about?’” he says. “But if you asked them, ‘Has anyone ever said something to you like this…?’, they would say, ‘Yes.’ When you explain the experience and give it a name, it can be a pretty powerful tool.” Solorzano argues that the “micro” in microaggression doesn’t mean “less than,” the “micro” in microaggression means “in the everyday.”   read more …………..


How Can Teachers Reduce Racial Microaggressions?



Teachers, consider the possibility that you may unconsciously commit racial microaggressions in the classroom? Watch this short video, titled ‘The Invisible Discriminator’ – Stop. Think. Respect.  This Public Service Announcement provides clear examples of microaggressions in everyday life. Racial microaggressions such as these may occur across all types of interracial communications; however, those that have the potential for the greatest harm are those perpetrated by majority culture individuals toward persons in disempowered racial groups.

According to Derald Wing Sue, Professor of Psychology and Education in TC’s Counseling Psychology program in the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, racial microaggressions are “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial slights and insults that potentially have harmful psychological impact on the target person or group”

Let’s switch the scene to your classroom. Now, reflect on your physical, verbal and non-verbal behaviors towards students of color.

Ask yourself three tough questions.

1. How do I behave and act around students of color?

2. How do students of color perceive my behaviors and actions toward them?

3. Do I commit racial microaggressions toward students of color?

Consider the possibility that you may commit racial microaggressions.  Stop and think about how those comments or actions may cause real distress and harm to them.

Four strategies that may reduce racial microaggressions

1. Acknowledge – acknowledge you may unconsciously commit racial microaggressions. Only then can then change your subconscious attitudes and ultimately your behavior towards students of color. We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge.

2. Counter – counter your hidden bias with positive images of people of color. Distribute stories and pictures that portray stereotype-busting images – posters, newsletters, annual reports, speaker series, and podcasts throughout your classroom.

3. Engage – engage with students of color by focusing on your similarities, yet appreciating your differences. You can achieve this by engaging with students of color in situations that involve meaningful activity.

4. Accept – accept their racial reality by looking at situations or experiences from their vantage. Do not minimize  their racial identity, or avoid the discomfort of discussing racial issues with them.

All of these strategies require work and I encourage you to keep doing them. As long as racial microaggressions remain hidden, invisible, unspoken and excused as innocent slights with minimal harm, individuals will continue to insult, demean, alienate, and oppress marginalized groups. It is incumbent upon educators to make every effort to recognize and address racial microaggressions in our schools.


A ‘Salons at Stowe’ Workshop Understanding Racial Micro-Aggressions with Dr. William Howe

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s Salons at Stowe presents Understanding Racial Micro-Aggressions, a workshop with Dr. William Howe.

The event will be held Thursday, October 9 from 5-7:30 PM in Fellowship Hall at Immanuel Congregational Church, located at Immanuel Congregational Church is located at 10 Woodland Street in Hartford. The event is free, but reservations are required: or 860-522-9258, ext. 317.

The workshop is designed to increase awareness of remarks that may be “charged” or denigrating and will help us understand how others hear what we say and how to communicate without bias.

Workshop facilitator Dr. William Howe is the program manager for culturally responsive education, multicultural education, bullying and harassment, gender equity and civil rights at the Connecticut Department of Education. He is the founder of the New England Conference on Multicultural Education (NECME) and Past President of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME).

Dr. Howe has been an educator for more than 35 years and has conducted more than 400 workshops, lectures and keynotes on diversity, multicultural education and organizational development. He is a regular presenter at state and national conferences and has appeared on both radio and television to discuss diversity issues.

At the Stowe Center, he will lead a workshop that will be enlightening and inspirational with useful and practical strategies to confront prejudice and build community.


The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, a museum, program center and research library, is located at 77 Forest Street in Hartford, CT.  The Stowe Center is open year round for tours and programs. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center uses Stowe’s story to inspire commitment to social justice and positive change.