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  1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The coddling of the american mind

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Steerpike, Aug 16, 2015.

  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    My phone cut off my hat tip to @Aaron DC , who posted this in another thread!
     
  3. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I didn't read the whole thing because I'm sleepy and lazy.

    But, I don't feel it's proper to censor what is taught to cater to those who may be effected by it. It only prevents other students from learning, like Christians who won't allow their children to learn about evolution. If you don't want to hear about it, don't show up. But other students shouldn't have to suffer because of it.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The article immediately brings to mind the usual 'kids these days' stereotype. I have a hard time taking it seriously.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If that's all you've got I don't believe you actually read it. Maybe those who did can discuss instead.
     
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  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Dammit, folks! There's a healthy middle between senselessly driving someone to tears and emotional anguish and this. >:[ I mean, sure, feelings get hurt. I get that. But sometimes life is a bitch and you get kicked around. It sucks, but it happens. I don't mean to sound like a shithole, but...sometimes we have to grow a thicker skin. :/ It's just part of life, it's how we grow.

    And yes, all this swearing was intentional.
     
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  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think the authors would agree. They're looking at it more in terms of what is harmful to people and what isn't. You can see some discussion of that, and who they consulted with, at this link at Huffington Post:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-lukianoff/3-quick-notes-about-the-c_b_7971198.html
     
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  8. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with this:

    "According to the most-basic tenets of psychology, helping people with anxiety disorders avoid the things they fear is misguided."

    At the same time, trauma victims should avoid the things that trigger panic attacks for the most part. At least at first. You don't want a Vietnam vet walking around with pictures of 'Nam everywhere unless they've built up a tolerance, and internal resources that can get them to cope.

    I don't know. We'll see how this all turns out. I think most of what's happening is people growing up inside computers though. More technology, less social skills.
     
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  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I did read it. And this is what turned me off about it:

    My comment was not about the micro aggressions, it was not about campus PC going crazy.

    It was about the ludicrous conclusion this was some kind of 'kids these days' TEOTWAWKI.

    From the link:
    Really? A movement? [​IMG] Because there are two new terms, microaggression and trigger warnings, that have come into being? [​IMG][​IMG]

    Puhleesse!
    Hyperbole much?

    I rest my case, 'kids these days'.

    Now if you want to say, yeah that hyperbole is in there but the rest of the article is worth discussing, fine. But I read it and the hyperbole turned my interest off. Hard to take it seriously with such dire significance attached to the issues.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @GingerCoffee other people seem to be able to discuss it without problem, both here and on other sites. I'm not going to hold your hand and guide you through it. There's no reason you have to participate in the thread.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Fine, don't let the falling sky hit you.
     
  12. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, kids these days is like music and fashion preferences. People catastrophizing hippy clothes as a symbol that America is becoming too careless about hygiene and hard work. This is a phenomenon where students are changing institutional policies.

    It does seem unprecedented on some level. Policy changes around diversity and hate speech were probably highly controversial in their time and maybe still are. But they were because certain people were being very deliberately and systemically excluded and targeted. The same historic flavors of oppression indeed live on in subtle ways, and I believe that raising awareness about the psychological and social impacts of microaggressions is important. But the concept of putting trigger warnings in things like textbooks is kind of extreme. Imagine reading uncle toms cabin or the color purple for a lit class and then in the syllabus it says trigger warning, racism and sexism, or something. Does a student who is extra sensitive to racism and sexism get to sit out of class during lectures and discussions? Do they get makeup assignments? I could see that being exploited like crazy. Even if they are that sensitive, hiding racism and sexism from them in that class does not help them become strong, resilient people who overcome their adversity. The word coddling is appropriate to me now. Part of becoming an adult is learning how to tolerate discomfort. We will never and should never live in a society where we do not encounter adversity.

    I'm getting a sci Fi story idea based around this in my head now. Hmm
     
  13. Lea`Brooks
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    What just happened? :confused:
     
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  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Random thoughts:

    I'm hoping that in time we will get this whole mess thrashed out, and come up with societal definitions and rules and practices for "safe" places and "deal with it" places. A support group would be a "safe" place. A class on criminal law would, surely, need to be a "deal with it" place--although the "it" would be the subject matter; I'd still expect normal courtesy from the students and professor. For example, I wouldn't consider rape jokes to be an appropriate way to break the tension.

    My old calculus TA who used to make word problems about torturing and killing cats could, I think, have been reasonably asked to come up with another source for mathematical inspiration. None of us took him seriously, and in fact I remember his crazy scenarios rather fondly, but I also think that if a student objected, the appropriate thing would be for him to cut it out.
     
  15. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Wait, the sky is falling? *looks out the window to see fireballs hurdling down from the sky* RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

    But seriously, Steerpike makes a good point. It's telling that we now apparently feel the need to censor things from the schools these days. It's less 'kids these days' and more 'Oh my God, why are we censoring everything?!'

    I dunno. I just let things go with the flow here in the Debate Section.
     
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You have to be able to distinguish between when someone is contributing seriously to a thread or just trolling it ;)
     
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  17. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    No more alphabets soup because it could possibly spell an inappropriate word in your bowl.
     
  18. GingerCoffee
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    Yes because having a different POV than you must be trolling and noting the doom and gloom hyperbole in the article is not to be discussed. Claiming a few anecdotes represent a nationwide trend shouldn't be challenged. And kids these days are all messed up because ... well you know, social change.
     
  19. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Weird I always though you guys thought alike and were on the same soccer team.
     
  20. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    @GingerCoffee

    Wait a minute. You don't think there's a problem today with young adults? Professors are losing their jobs due to student's hypersensitivity.
     
  21. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    To be honest, I completely agree. I guess I'm still part of the generation this article is talking about, left my undergrad degree only three years ago.

    I've not read the article in full, I will admit that now - I've been busy today - but I've found this is happening on my university campus too. It's, to be honest, really quite unnerving. I remember reading online about people wanting to ban Dante's Comedy because it contained sexist and racist views - it's a text from the 12th century and reflects the political life of Florence. Of course it's going to have different values from our current society. It's almost like these people want to censer thought because it might be unpleasant, which is very dangerous.

    I don't know, but I think it might also have something to do with the huge rise in certain subjects, and the opening up to new degrees based entirely on theory. I'm currently doing a theory-based Masters degree right now, and I've seen it's very open to ideological biases. You can justify almost any interpretation of a literary text if you theorize enough about it - I have just finished a Feminist reading of Robert Frost's poems that I really liked, and was totally on board with, until it started trying to suggest Frost was unconsciously a bisexual lesbian homophobe. It seems a good idea to be really sceptical of that sort of thinking, but for other reasons - that's another paragraph and another subject.

    And also, 'Dunning-Kruger' comes to mind. Everyone who has done a humanities degree knows that stage where you talk about Marxism and Class Struggle, as if you actually bothered to even read The Communist Manifesto. When you are young you think you know everything, and you think 'Yes, of course, why doesn't the world just unite in a single world government, most of the world's problems could be solved'. The good ones will eventually learn they don't know as much as they think they do, and can't change the world by themselves.

    Anyway, actual psychological triggers that bring back bad memories of past trauma, I sympathize. I'm totally ignorant of them and good things institutions should do to prevent them outside of my own role, though. I'm looking at this as a teacher, and I'll admit a bit of a conservatively British one. I don't think you should decide what you learn in universities and colleges, and I certainly do not think you should not be challenged and not shown new & potentially offensive ideas. But then again, if I had my way, English Literature students would be leaving A-level courses able to recite at least 5 short poems from memory.

    (Side note: god, three years since I graduated with my BA. Seems so long ago, and at the same time, no time at all!)
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
  22. NigeTheHat
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    Well, no. Because of the way people are reacting to things they consider microaggressions and triggering. Which was, I think, pretty obvious.

    I mean, if the part about not teaching rape law because some people might find it distressing is true, that's fucking terrifying. Not enough rape cases are prosecuted as it is, how the hell are we supposed to improve that if it becomes a minefield to teach?

    Bits might be hyperbolic. It's journalism. It wants clicks. But the fact that parts are hyperbolic doesn't mean it doesn't have a point.
     
  23. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Childhood has 'itself ... changed greatly during the past generation'. Of course it has. You are literally using the reason for that to read this message.
     
  24. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Another random thought: I feel that part of the issue may be a failure to teach critical thinking and questioning and the acceptance of gray areas and acceptance of disagreement between good people, ideally from a young age. We give small and medium-sized children books that are supposed to not just present ideas, but teach them what's "right". Quite often, a child doesn't read anything that allows for moral grey areas, at least not if their parents can prevent it. Even when conflict is presented, it tends to be absorbed and digested and the child told what the right answer is.

    I'm not suggesting that we should make five-year-olds try to solve the big problems of the world; I'm thinking more of a teacher reading A Birthday for Frances and then asking, "Who thinks Frances was selfish for eating part of the birthday present? Who thinks she was right? Who thinks she was wrong but you like what she did anyway? No, I'm not going to tell you which is the right answer; this is the kind of thing that you decide. Yes, Jane, I know that you disagree with Joe about what Frances did, but you still agree with Joe about a lot of things, right? You and Joe can have just as much fun building those great Lego towers together, even though you know that he thinks differently from you about this one thing."

    Or, well, whatever. See what I mean?
     
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  25. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like what you're saying about gray areas. It makes me think of what dialectical behavioral therapy teaches people:

    [​IMG]
     
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