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  • College Students Who Can’t Stand Challenge

    Posted by David Foster on May 6th, 2015 (All posts by )

    A “safe space” at Brown University:

    The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.

    and at the University of Chicago:

    A few weeks ago, Zineb El Rhazoui, a journalist at Charlie Hebdo, spoke at the University of Chicago, protected by the security guards she has traveled with since supporters of the Islamic State issued death threats against her. During the question-and-answer period, a Muslim student stood up to object to the newspaper’s apparent disrespect for Muslims and to express her dislike of the phrase “I am Charlie.”

    Ms. El Rhazoui replied, somewhat irritably, “Being Charlie Hebdo means to die because of a drawing,” and not everyone has the guts to do that (although she didn’t use the word guts). She lives under constant threat, Ms. El Rhazoui said. The student answered that she felt threatened, too.

    A few days later, a guest editorialist in the student newspaper took Ms. El Rhazoui to task. She had failed to ensure “that others felt safe enough to express dissenting opinions.” Ms. El Rhazoui’s “relative position of power,” the writer continued, had granted her a “free pass to make condescending attacks on a member of the university.”

    Why do so many college students choose to “self-infantilize?”  Judith Shulevitz, author of the above-linked NYT article, quotes Eric Posner:

    Perhaps overprogrammed children engineered to the specifications of college admissions offices no longer experience the risks and challenges that breed maturity.

    Also, surely, the extreme practices of “self-esteem building” indulged in by some parents and many K-12 schools have something to do with forming personalities so brittle that they shatter at the least tap of challenge.

    Another reason why we see such a proliferation of college students acting like fragile flowers, though, is that adopting this persona gives them power which can be used to bully others.  See the case of  Omar Mahmood, who was fired from his student-paper job because it was thought that a parody he wrote might offend the Special Snowflakes (one such snowflake felt “threatened”)…and who was then subjected to actual not metaphorical vandalism.

    Last week, he became the victim of what The College Fix has described as a “hate crime.” The doorway of his apartment was vandalized in the middle of the night; the perpetrators pelted the door with eggs and scribbled notes like “shut the fuck up” and “everyone hates you you violent prick.” They left copies of the offending column and a print-out picture of Satan.

    The author of the above-linked column says, sarcastically:

    Frankly, those who fail to understand why the anonymous staffer felt threatened haven’t been paying attention. I completely understand, and fully support, the anon staffer. Mahmood’s satire forced the staffer to do something no young person should ever be required to do, ever be required to suffer: think. This is, after all, the age of feelings, and it is clearly sufficient that deeply held beliefs not be challenged, as it gives rise to mental damage that no one should ever have to endure.

    I think the self-perceived-victim-as-actual-bully will be an increasingly common type, as it is what much of today’s university climate seems designed to reward and encourage.

     

    31 Responses to “College Students Who Can’t Stand Challenge”

    1. David Foster Says:

      One thing I’ve noticed: the threats of Islamic radicals against those whose speech they believe has offended them usually include phrases about how the murders will be necessary to “heal their hearts” or words to that effect. See, for instance, the recent ISIS call for the killing of Pam Geller: “This will heal the hearts of our brothers”

      http://pamelageller.com/2015/05/islamic-state-on-pamela-geller-we-will-send-all-our-lions-to-achieve-her-slaughter.html/

      Psychologically, this absolute inability to tolerate anything that challenges their deepest beliefs has more than a little in common with the academic demanders of “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.”

    2. Anonymous Says:

      Can someone explain to me how they can possibly expect to function at all of a university campus? The real world will care not about their “triggers” and micro aggressions.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      Perhaps overprogrammed children engineered to the specifications of college admissions offices no longer experience the risks and challenges that breed maturity.

      You might say that the kids these days have been overfitted to the data.

      However, my guess is that if you change the incentives most of these kids will shape up.

    4. Xennady Says:

      Can someone explain to me how they can possibly expect to function at all of a university campus? The real world will care not about their “triggers” and micro aggressions.

      I expect that the leftist goal is that when the special snowflakes reach the real world there will be sufficient rules and regulations in place to protect them.

      For example, if Ms. Feminist Womyn somehow obtains a job working near men she will use the armed might of the state to force them to treat her with abject deference and servile groveling, respect. Otherwise, they are creating a hostile work environment- and she’ll sue, either receiving a juicy payout or perhaps an undeserved promotion.

      I’ve seen something like this happen in real life, btw- and I expect more of it and worse, with the next crop of special flakes about to be harvested.

      God help us.

    5. Ginny Says:

      I get tired of the oppressed woman rhetoric, but students at an open admissions junior college, most of whom are fed into a school that excels in stem areas and whose core is the corps, are not like that. Most of them have or will work at service jobs to put themselves through school. That develops a reasonably tough skin. And certainly no one has objected to Yeats’ description of the rape of Leda nor Donne’s desire to be “taken” by God in his sonnet; of course, they are not immune to rewards for certain templates of literary criticism. One girl described women as man’s property in America until, maybe, 30 years ago. She was analyzing Fitzgerald and Hemingway – poor oppressed Lady Brett and Zelda. The schools of Texas aren’t yet full of wilting flowers – though I suspect some of their teachers see that as a lack of consciousness raising.

      The chimera that our hearts will be healed if others just say that we are right, we are absolutely right, we shouldn’t have to listen to others because they are wrong is pretty insane. It is also why movements tend to eat their own (before, during and after they try to devour everyone else). The left wants us, too often, not to let our faces betray that we don’t approve of . . . whatever, for that would bother them. They want us to say, yes, you are absolutely right – abortion, gay marriage, whatever – is a “good.” Accepting, saying, that’s your view, is insufficient: they want us to say, yes, yes, that is my view as well. Indeed, my friends who are strongly anti-abortion are expected to cheerfully fund it. Of course, this is all because an average jihadist must occasionally look at the beauty of a world based on other views and suspect that there is something wrong with his view. And any doubts feed his doubts (just as I’m sure those who make other choices realize that, well, this isn’t exactly natural law, etc. and they want others to say what they are doing is right loud enough to drown out that voice within).

    6. Sgt. Mom Says:

      The Deity forbid that these speshul snowflakes ever get a good chewing out by a military drill instructor – afterwards they’ll be curled up in a quivering little ball of protoplasm on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably.

    7. David Foster Says:

      Ginny…”whose core is in the corps”….meaning? The Marine Corps, or what?

    8. David Foster Says:

      I always thought of Zelda as more the oppressOR than the oppressED

    9. David Foster Says:

      And from the UK, here’s Stepford Students

    10. David Foster Says:

      This is interesting:

      Personally, liberal students scare the shit out of me. I know how to get conservative students to question their beliefs and confront awful truths, and I know that, should one of these conservative students make a facebook page calling me a communist or else seek to formally protest my liberal lies, the university would have my back. I would not get fired for pissing off a Republican, so long as I did so respectfully, and so long as it happened in the course of legitimate classroom instruction.

      The same cannot be said of liberal students. All it takes is one slip—not even an outright challenging of their beliefs, but even momentarily exposing them to any uncomfortable thought or imagery—and that’s it, your classroom is triggering, you are insensitive, kids are bringing mattresses to your office hours and there’s a twitter petition out demanding you chop off your hand in repentance.

      http://whitehotharlots.tumblr.com/post/114067452180/a-personal-account-of-how-call-out-culture-has

    11. Ken Hoop Says:

      This is the kind of thing Russia is, successfuly so far trying to keep out.

    12. Mike K Says:

      ” if Ms. Feminist Womyn somehow obtains a job working near men she will use the armed might of the state to force them to treat her with abject deference and servile groveling, respect.”

      A hilarious confrontation is brewing. The “Ms. Feminist Womyn” is abut to encounter an unfinished trainee in her toilet or shower. The EEOC has now ruled that genetic males who decide they are female are entitled to use female toilet and shower facilities.

      That decision, rendered against the Department of the Army, holds that Lusardi was “subjected to disparate treatment on the basis of sex” when he (the decision uses female pronouns for him) “was denied equal access to the common female restroom facilities.” It also holds that he was subjected to a hostile work environment “based on sex.” Part of the evidence in support of that holding was that a supervisor used male pronouns to refer to him (and “Sir” to address him).

      It’s sort of another Iran-Iraq war situation. If only both could lose.

    13. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      According to Feministing Womyn, listening to others viewpoints makes you “fucking scum”.

      https://youtu.be/iARHCxAMAO0?t=3m5s

      And need I add that the police protecting those espousing contrary viewpoints and those who came to hear them are “fucking pigs!” I guess that goes without saying. Ah, the Left!

    14. Ginny Says:

      David Foster:
      You haven’t seen the criticism that claims Zelda was a suppressed artist, dominated by Fitzgerald. I didn’t say the criticism is rational – nor that she was.

      And I may have been too cute about the corps bit; I’m not military and may not use these terms well. Still around here the Rotc guys (who sit in the front row, fall asleep because of the long hours of drill, also go home and listen to the lectures again on-line because, well, they like American lit) are often referred to as “corps guys.” The culture: here’s a performance by our neighbor’s nephew and march down Congress in Austin.

      More girls than guys attend now in most majors, but people attracted to this branding are not likely to be fainting flowers. (and Granger Smith has done a lot of USO work, not surprisingly). In 1965, membership was no longer mandatory; women came later. The military dominated the culture and traditions; even as a minority on campus (their numbers not diminishing but the school is growing), the traditions remain often military.

    15. Ginny Says:

      screwed up the link: Granger Smith – We Bleed Maroon

    16. Mike K Says:

      “an unfinished trainee” An almost hilarious creation of autocorrect that I just noticed. He may be a trannie trainee but autocorrect still doesn’t get it.

    17. okimutt Says:

      Sgt. Mom, I think a screening of Full Metal Jacket would send those darlings into the
      Xanax for life program. DI volume and spittle up close and personal would make them catatonic.

    18. chuck Says:

      Time to raise the voting age. I thought lowering it to 18 was simply a Democrat vote grab, like open borders, and it was. But surviving as a country when a goodly part of the electorate are small children is not going to be easy.

    19. Bill Brandt Says:

      I’m sure their future places of employment will have “time out” areas.

      Okimutt – as you say we need to send D.I. Lee Ermey in their faces – can’t you just imagine that?

    20. Xennady Says:

      That decision, rendered against the Department of the Army, holds that Lusardi was “subjected to disparate treatment on the basis of sex” when he (the decision uses female pronouns for him) “was denied equal access to the common female restroom facilities.” It also holds that he was subjected to a hostile work environment “based on sex.” Part of the evidence in support of that holding was that a supervisor used male pronouns to refer to him (and “Sir” to address him).

      A hilarious confrontation indeed, although as the cliche goes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

      No reasonable person could conclude Lusardi was discriminated against, in my view, and I bet the people who have to work with him/her/whatever are quite exasperated with this nonsense. Of course I’m just speculating, but I’ve seen (roughly) this sort of situation.

      According to Feministing Womyn, listening to others viewpoints makes you “fucking scum”.

      OK then. In the same sense that reality is that which doesn’t go away when you stop believing in it, other viewpoints don’t go away either.

      The holders of those other viewpoints- a.k.a. “fucking scum”- simply decide there is no point in listening to or accepting the arguments of deranged raving feminists as anything rational, or even made in good faith.

      Shut up, they explain doesn’t get better when it’s shut up, womyn explains, nor does it convince.

      That matters. Mike K- I suspect in the end, they will both lose. Bizarre extremism doesn’t play well, which is what this is.

    21. Joe Wooten Says:

      The Deity forbid that these speshul snowflakes ever get a good chewing out by a military drill instructor – afterwards they’ll be curled up in a quivering little ball of protoplasm on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably

      The Army and Air Force boot camps give boots a “time out” card to flash when they are feeling overloaded by the DI’s now. So far the Marines have not succumbed to this nonsense and I do not know about the Navy.

    22. Mike K Says:

      I see lots of military recruits and think they are the cream of today’s kids. I see kids with 99 on the AFQVT with college degrees applying to be Navy SEALS. I saw a kid yesterday who has been training to be an Army Ranger. I would not take the Harvard freshman class over most of these kids.

      My medical student group this year is made up of five engineers and one computer science grad. Two are girls and the prettiest girl, who is unbelievably limber (She can touch her ear with her leg elevated straight up) is also one of the sharpest although it took me a few weeks to figure that out because she talks like a Valley Girl. She is Indian and dark complected but gorgeous. Only one is Caucasian.

      Caucasians are a minority at USC medical school now.

    23. Grurray Says:

      “I’m sure their future places of employment will have “time out” areas. ”

      Bill, believe it or not, they now do.

    24. David Foster Says:

      Grurray…if not handled very, very carefully, the “kids table” could be an invitation to age discrimination lawsuits.

    25. CapitalistRoader Says:

      For example, if Ms. Feminist Womyn somehow obtains a job working near men she will use the armed might of the state to force them to treat her with abject deference and servile groveling, respect. Otherwise, they are creating a hostile work environment- and she’ll sue, either receiving a juicy payout or perhaps an undeserved promotion.

      A sharp HR department along with competent managers should win, EEOC be damned. In a for-profit company, anyway. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, especially in small companies that don’t have the resources to deal with sue-crazy employees or non-profits that don’t have the profit motive to stay afloat, but skillful management would be able to get rid of the employee above without a cent paid out.

      The alternative is Gresham’s Law, that bad employees drive out good employees, which probably explains the DMV, etc.

    26. Mike K Says:

      “but skillful management would be able to get rid of the employee above without a cent paid out.”

      The hospital where I used to practice is now a rather hostile environment for traditional types. A friend is an OR supervisor. She tells me that lesbian nurses talk about their sex lives constantly and dare other nurses to say anything. Nobody does because they know the admin will side with the lesbians. A couple of years ago, an angry nurse tried to accuse a neurosurgeon of harassment and my friend was asked to support her accusation. She declined as she thought there was nothing there, although he has been a bit of a jerk for 40 years, and she was worried that the admin was going to try to punish her for declining.

      Older nurses are very worried about their careers because they are usually highly paid and remember how things were in the good old days. That is dangerous.

    27. Grurray Says:

      David, not only that but if you follow Neil Howe’s work on Millenials than you see that this policy of segregating by age is doomed to failure. More than any other generation in recent history, Millenials get along very well with their parents, work effectively with them on a wide variety of things, and many still live with their parents. They should be collaborating with older mentors rather than being penned up together like in an extended kindergarten.

    28. Xennady Says:

      The hospital where I used to practice is now a rather hostile environment for traditional types. A friend is an OR supervisor. She tells me that lesbian nurses talk about their sex lives constantly and dare other nurses to say anything. Nobody does because they know the admin will side with the lesbians.

      Interesting anecdote, which I think is much more realistic than the usual claims that the US is a wretched hive of scum, villainy, and homophobia.

      Long ago I was told (semi-seriously) by a woman I served with in the USN that she was afraid to take a shower aboard ship because of the lesbians who supposedly weren’t allowed to be in the military, but certainly were.

      To be blunt, it seems to me that gays in the US are living in this fantasy world where everyone is out to get them, and they bravely fight back against the man by being terribly obnoxious and hostile to everyone else.

      Tiresome, that is.

    29. CapitalistRoader Says:

      The hospital where I used to practice is now a rather hostile environment for traditional types.

      Hospital = non-profit, right? No incentive to fight ridiculous EEOC charges, right?

      I’ve advised young people for decades to stay away from government and/or non-profit employment, strictly for their sanity.

    30. IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." Says:

      Perhaps overprogrammed children engineered to the specifications of college admissions offices no longer experience the risks and challenges that breed maturity.

      More like helicopter parents that supervise every single moment of their children’s lives, instead of letting them out on their own to discover the world and challenge themselves to succeed and fail on their own and with their friends strikes me as the likely cause.

      When you treat teens as children, and supervise them 24/7/365, what the hell reason — and opportunity — do they have to mature in any significant regard?

    31. IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." Says:

      The alternative is Gresham’s Law, that bad employees drive out good employees, which probably explains the DMV, etc.

      I cannot speak for other states, but, in Florida, at least, the DMV has gotten orders of magnitude better — at least a the local level.

      Many things are online, and, where it can’t be, the local functionaries are NOT assholes.

      Perhaps it’s time for a new meme for bad service — like the IRS (“Why, No, we DON’T have to have the correct answer for you. If you follow our instructions, and they are wrong, we can STILL screw you over… and, HEY… you aren’t a… Republican… are you?”) or the Post Office (“Yes. 49 cents. Why are you complaining? It’s only a penny a day for storage and transport.”).