Psychology Department Lecture Series Presentation on Micro-Aggressions – 12/7/11

Despite the public’s demand for transparency and truthful communications, according to one expert many individuals frequently use small, yet very hurtful, “micro-aggressions” in our communications.  In her upcoming lecture, “I Didn’t Do Anything to Make You Feel That Way – How We Communicate Without Saying Anything,” Social Worker Lois Smith Owens, MSW, MA, will discuss how we “constantly use micro-aggressions as a way to devalue and demean those that we are ‘different’ from.”

Owens, the second in GRCC’s Psychology Department Speaker Series, will speak Wednesday, December 7 from 1:00 – 2:30 PM in room 168 of GRCC’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center at the main campus in downtown Grand Rapids.

Owens defines micro-aggressions as insults or stereotyping that are generally perceived as small, but in reality are deeply felt by the recipient. “Oppressed and at-risk populations are often bombarded by these slights, invalidations and painful experiences by others such as pastors, teachers, family members, co-workers, neighbors and class-mates,” she says.

Formerly a School Social Worker specializing in Art Therapy in Chicago, she is currently Director of Admissions and an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Grand Valley State University.

The professor will also present information on the use of ‘triggers’ that will assist in understanding why many in our society continue to engage in these demeaning behaviors toward others, as well as discussing how to refrain from doing so.

All presentations are free and held in room 168 of the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, on Fountain St. and Ransom Ave.

For more information, contact Dr. Frank Conner at or (616) 234-3612. For a list of future speakers in this series, please visit

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