Today’s college students, fragile little snowflakes that they are, now demand that “trigger warning” or “content warning” notices be placed above or before articles and posts pertaining to a rapidly increasing number of potentially offensive topics. No longer are they sent into catatonic shock only by discussions of, say, rape or war. Now many don’t wish to be exposed to such previously innocuous subjects as “white men” or “police,” for example.
A student at Barnard, a private women’s college (not very inclusive of- and affirming to- men!), has written an online piece stating that she comes across trigger warnings daily, on campus Facebook groups, campus magazines or even during in-class conversations. She says that the warnings are often captions at the top of posts that read “trigger warning,” “content warning,” or simply “tw” or “cw.”
She avers that anything dealing with “racism, sexism, classism, able-bodyism, heterosexism, and all the other isms” may send the young scholars into a tailspin from which they may never recover. She reports that she saw “tw: Constitution” placed atop a Facebook post rejoicing in the death of Antonin Scalia. Evidently even the briefest mention of the word “Constitution” could “prompt thoughts of oppression, persecution, genocide and other social ills,” thereby rendering our highly-educated youth incapable of proper bodily function. “Quick, to our safe spaces! Someone get the warm cookies and cute puppies! Someone get the warm cookies and cute puppies NOW!”
Apparently, it is now unacceptable to use traditional male/female binary terms, as well. She says that any references to gender roles can be “hurtful.” For example, one cannot ask a female student if she wants children someday, as that would be “limiting,” and acknowledging the stereotype that women somehow have “an inherent maternal instinct.”
Meanwhile, over at Clark University: a freshman raised her hand to ask Sheree Marlowe- the school’s new Chief Diversity Officer- a question. “I’m really scared to ask this,” she starts out. “When I, as a white female, listen to music that uses the N word, and I’m in the car, or, especially when I’m with all white friends, is it okay to sing along?” The new C.D.O.’s reply? “NO!” (What if she was with black friends)?
This exchange took place during Ms. Marlowe’s presentation on diversity and campus etiquette to incoming freshman. Ms. Marlowe also has other helpful tips for the young scholars! Such as: Never ask an Asian student you don’t know for help on your math homework or randomly ask a black student if he plays basketball. Those questions make assumptions based on stereotypes, you see. Oh, and don’t say “you guys,” as it could be interpreted as leaving out women.
But wait, there’s more! There are non-verbal microaggressions such as when a white woman clutches her purse as a black or Latino person approaches. And did you know there exists a “subset” of microaggression known as “microinvalidation?” This category would include comments suggesting that there may be more important factors than race in determining one’s lot in life. Someone with the unmitigated gall, the titanic temerity to say for example, “Anyone can succeed in this society if they are willing to work hard enough” would be guilty of this crime.
University of Wisconsin-Madison officials have crafted a new pilot program on diversity for 1,000 of their incoming freshmen that is expected to cost nearly $200,000. Assumedly, this signals that UW-Madison will join the growing list of colleges that no longer use the term “freshmen.” “First-year students” is the preferred, gender-neutral, politically-correct term currently en-vogue on today’s campuses.
It has come to this: Topics such as “Halloween,” “Thanksgiving,” and “The Second Amendment” might all carry a warning notice on today’s campuses. To any sane kids going off to school this fall, I make the following suggestion: demand that your administrators put a large “trigger warning” notice on any campus signs or buildings bearing the college’s name.
Trigger Warning!: Barnard College