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Word-edit tracing on Wikipedia
In late 2017 / early 2018, I did a data post about the word "microaggression" appearing on Wikipedia.
What has the word "microaggression" been up to since then? Let's hurtle back in linguistic space-time. Before Ice Spice, before "Let's Go Brandon".
My latest search returns 251 articles (up from 77). I can't include every new article I tried to include an interesting sample in chronological order:
- In June 2018, a user (who would get banned from editing immigration articles, then perma-banned for sock-puppet edits) created an article for the book The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars. One of the banned accounts also created an article for a vegetarian restaurant in New Haven? What is the overlap?
- In October 2018 the New York Times talked about microaggressions at school with the cast of The Hate U Give, an adaptation of a book about a police shooting.
- Also in October, a student in a Clinical Trauma Psychology course at Palo Alto University added an article about "Racial battle fatigue".
- In late 2018 "microaggressions" was used to debate the seriousness of Vegaphobia
- The 2009 book I Am Not Sidney Poitier got an article rewrite by a Swarthmore student taking a Black Culture course in 2019. This edit also describes the book as 'Post-black'. The book got a UK publication in early spring 2020.
- Rose Tico spoke out about microaggressions in reception and social media harassment after The Last Jedi.
- A May 2019 episode of Mom had a microaggression subplot
- In early 2020 the graphic novel New Kid won a Newbery medal and got a Wiki article.
- In April 2020 a student in a U. Florida course on marginalized children's literature wrote an article about the 2016 book Unidentified Suburban Object
- In July 2020 a user created the article "Racism in the wine industry"
- Also July 2020, a user added a line about Chester Middlebrook Pierce coining the term "microaggression". As the edit message pointed out, he had been credited on Wikipedia and in the literature for research going back to the 1970s.
- In January 2021 someone rewrote the episode summaries for the 2017 season of One Day at a Time and included the term "microaggressions".
- In January 2021 someone expanded the article about 2019 film Driveways with articles including a quote about microaggressions.
- Mr Beast did something in February 2021 so it's in his article now
- Hollyoaks, a UK soap opera running since 1995, had an episode in April 2021 which featured micro-aggressions and unconscious bias experienced by a Black woman in the medical system ("Episode_5569"). This was also notable after Black actors had quit the show in protest in summer 2020.
- Also in April 2021, pre-press for the In the Heights film adaptation discussed microaggressions among the sensitivity updates to the musical.
- In June 2021, Disney Channel's Sydney to the Max aired an episode directed by Raven-Symoné with a microaggression plotline. This episode is titled Do the Write Thing. One scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeKhgsmhKNQ .
Interview with Raven-Symoné: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_jcDwElmXI
IMDB reviews of this episode are polarized and low compared to other episodes.
- In January 2022, a persistent user wrote a detailed citation for an article about misogyny in rap to the article they've been building about the 1992 rap Bitches Ain't Shit. Survey of topics that this user cares about:
- In February a section about US persecution and microaggressions was added to "Persecution of Dalits"
- In April 2022 an article about microaggressions was added to further reading on Anti-French sentiment".
- In September 2022 a magazine review of the recent film Other People's Children discussed "microaggressions that parents occasionally toss at their child-free peers".
- A West Wing fan wrote an article in early 2023 about the meme account "Dear_White_Staffers"
- An interview led to an update on the page for Caleb McLaughlin (best known for Stranger Things). Both cited articles (New York Post and BBC) call this "racism from fans" and do not use the term microaggression.
- The article for the book The Netanyahus was updated in July with the word "microaggressions". The book is recent (it won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) but the setting is the 1950s. This book had no article until it won the Pulitzer.
- Though she's been cited on the micro-inequity page since 2005, Mary Rowe got her first Wikipedia bio in July.
- A student at Santa Clara University recently added a page for Daniel G. Solórzano, which soon got more info about his research on microaggressions.
- A page was created just last month about a new TV show, the adaptation of The Other Black Girl
A lot of these articles summarize TV episodes - "microaggression" may be a useful shorthand for past and present concepts. This One Day at a Time edit back to 2017 was neat, but nowhere near the epic character bio which I saw last time for Australia's 2007 series Summer Heights High. Sadly that bio got erased in late 2019 by an editor describing it as "unnecessary".
There are a lot of young adult book articles using "microaggression", too. Are YA book articles encouraged on Wikipedia to hook new editors? Examples include: New Kid, Emergency Contact, Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor, The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person, Miss Meteor, Unidentified Suburban Object, and Real Life.
Since 2017, many more users identify their university/course. This probably comes from backlash to assigning students to make edits on Wikipedia/GitHub/OpenStreetMap, something which sounds like a cool media activity but floods the commons with low-effort content which the author didn't even want. I swear there was a definitive rant about this (or is that a "stop assigning your students to email me" rant?). The Student Assignments page has guidelines (mostly to better identify who is editing), Education Noticeboard tends to track these events, and admins block professors if they have recurring problems.
My other theory about YA books and microaggressions is that A- it's a way to include racism in a way that can be non-violent or redeemable (like the misguided teacher in Do the Write Thing); B- Wiki editors write "microaggression" even when racism is in the original (such as the McLaughlin article, and The Hate U Give); and C- young editors may be embracing the word?
The UK soap opera and Disney airing their anti-racism episode in spring 2021 probably has something to do with when they resumed filming post-covid. When did Disney clear child actors to go back on set during covid? Were they in a bubble as long as the NBA (through October 2020)? How is there an 8-hour video about Victorious and 90 minutes on the Disney Channel tones but no The Show Must Go On: Continuity of Family Entertainment or Virus in the Mouse House: Risk Your Kid for Content? docu-series.
The media landscape and Wikipedia are slowly accepting un-serious use of microaggressions for the French, vegans, and non-parents.
I also learned that everyone in Congress is getting a totally-not-creepy audio bit added to their bio:
It's wild that someone can rewrite the whole "Quantitative methods in criminology" article in 2016, cite themself or a friend twice (this user got chastised for citing these authors on multiple articles), and years later the article is relatively unchanged, if you happen to land there. Same for the wine racism article, and the veggie restaurant in New Haven (which was spared from deletion in 2010). Yet a book needs to win a Pulitzer before getting its own Wikipedia article?