Psychologist to Reveal how Micro-Aggressions can Devalue and Demean Those who we Consider Different

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,” psychologist 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

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and  personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.