July 8, 2021

New Issue of The Flame Magazine Asks, ‘Does Racism Have a Subtler Side?’

THE NEGATIVE POWER OF WORDS: The new issue of The Flame magazine explores the destructive effect of microaggressions.

Daniel Solórzano says it does. In fact, that subtler side has been his professional focus for more than four decades.

In the new issue of The Flame, Solórzano (PhD, Education, ’86) discusses his study of an area of discrimination known as microaggressions on the occasion of the publication of his new book, Racial Microaggressions: Using Critical Race Theory to Respond to Everyday Racism, co-authored with Lindsay Pérez Huber.

The term “microaggressions,” as magazine contributor Lynell George explains in an interview with Solórzano, refers to everyday comments or gestures that make an assumption about one’s citizenry or immigration status, or one’s education level, or one’s range of cognitive abilities that are (sometimes) subtle enough to be dismissed as overreactions if one happens to object and point them out.

2020 might be behind us, but the new issue shows its impact isn’t.

Over time such comments and gestures reinforce hostile, negative attitudes toward many marginalized groups and contribute to the problems of systemic racism. The best response, he tells George, is to speak up and confront microaggressions when they happen (even at the risk of being dismissed). Solórzano and his co-author also look at the powerful role that something they call “microaffirmations” can play in creating positive, nurturing influences.

Confronting racism is also central to the work of artist William Camargo (MFA, ’20), and the new magazine issue presents how he addresses the racist past of his hometown of Anaheim in a recent exhibit of his photography.

Camargo talks with contributor Tom Johnson about the social justice dimension of his work in light of his recent exhibit Origins & Displacements: Making Sense of Place, Histories & Possibilities, Vol. 1 & 2 and an upcoming exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum.

“Digging into those archives,” Camargo tells Johnson about his research in the Latinx Diaspora Archives, made him realize “that there was a lot of history untold that I didn’t learn in public school. It was a disservice that we weren’t told this history. And it was so rich.”

In addition to the topic of race and racism, the new issue of The Flame looks at other issues that dominated 2020, including politics and public health. Terry McGann (PhD, Political Philosophy & Government, ’75) discusses the cracks in the U.S. healthcare system exposed by the pandemic, while the plight of Texas Republican female lawmakers in the wake of Donald Trump’s election loss is examined by doctoral student Eveline Gnabasik.