Davidson Microaggressions Project

“Smarter than I look”

I was a freshman who took a popular course with 100+ other students, who were split up into various sub-sections. I (a sometimes white-passing POC woman) spoke up often to answer questions or give opinions on how the class was going. The lead professor would sometimes talk about me in meetings with the TAs (other students at Davidson who has little/no social remove from the students). Lead professor would wonder aloud if I was “really as smart as people thought” (not a direct quote but a rephrasing). This ended up trickling down into social settings where, for example, one TA told his fraternity brother, who was a friend of mine, that I was “smarter than [I] looked.” Female/international TAs ended up telling me about how the lead professor spoke about me, and even though I’ve continued having a relationship with this professor, it was a great introduction to university life.