Microaggressions. What are these? Why do they occur? What can be done about them? These are the questions that will be explored during this session. As workplaces continue to change with increasing representation from Indigenous, Black and People of Colour, women, LGBQT2+ peoples as well as deaf, disabled and individuals with mental health challenges, the language of everyday communication is important and, most recently, has been called to attention due to insensitive and inappropriate language based on social biases and unexamined stereotypes. Often unwittingly used, these unfortunate terms contribute to the everyday experiences of racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism that permeate our society and, if left unchecked, can damage workplace and personal relationships. This session will examine what microaggressions are, the damage they can cause and the importance of both spotting and addressing them.
*Please note that this session will emphasize working interactively through case studies to build and practice applicable skills for addressing microaggressions in the arts community.
charles c. smith is a poet, playwright and essayist who has written and edited twelve books. He studied poetry and drama with William Packard, editor of the New York Quarterly Magazine, at New York University and Herbert Berghof Studios. He also studied drama at the Frank Silvera’s Writers’ Workshop in Harlem. He won second prize for his play Last Days for the Desperate from Black Theatre Canada, has edited three collections of poetry (including the works of Dionne Brand, Marlene Nourbese Phillips, Claire Harris, Cyril Dabydeen, Lillian Allen, George Elliot Clarke, Clifton Joseph), has four published books of poetry and his poetry has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including Poetry Canada Review, the Quille and Quire, Descant, Dandelion, Fiddlehead, Anti-Racism in Education: Missing in Action (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives), the Amethyst Review, Bywords, Canadian Ethnic Studies and others. charles was the founder of the Black Perspectives Cultural Program in Regent Park and recently received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council’s Writers Reserve Grants Program and the Toronto Arts Council Writers Grants Program.
His first book, Partial Lives, appeared through Williams-Wallace Press and a chapbook, Fleurette Africaine (wind in the leaves collective), was released in February 2012. charles is also Artistic Director of the wind in the leaves collective.
His book, Pluralism in the Arts in Canada: A Change is Gonna Come, was released in June 2012. His new book of poetry, travelogue of the bereaved, was published in 2014 by TSAR Publications (now Mawenzi Press) and his latest non-fiction book The Dirty War: The Making of the Myth of Black Dangerousness was released in 2014 by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. His new book, destination out, will be released by Tightrope Press.