Dear Fellow Millenials…
Grow the hell up.
Maybe that’s not fair. I should be addressing this to Millenials who are still in college. But anyway, my statement stands.
You’ve probably come up with a reasonable question: “What do you mean?”
Here I’m talking about the latest infantilization trend on college campuses: the theories of microaggressions and triggers.
According to proponents of microaggression theory, microaggression occurs when a person does a minor act of denigration towards someone of a different gender, race, or orientation. Apparently, such an act is so subtle that the person doing it has no idea they are causing offense…or, more hysterically, causing aggression towards another person. By its composition, this theory cannot be tested scientifically, which means it cannot be proven or disproven.
Triggers—or trigger warnings—are words, speech, or images that—I am not making this up—may cause “traumatizing thoughts.” As such, many students or college leaders are calling for a minimization of any chance for “triggers.” Put in another way: these students apparently find it too hard to think.
(To be absolutely fair, “triggers” are considered to be legitimate factors in PTSD cases by psychologists; however, it is recently being used by people whose most traumatic incidents involved running running out of strawberry mix for Jell-O shots.)
In pursuit of mental comfort, students have asked for warnings to be attached to Huckleberry Finn and Greek literature. When a conservative speaker named Christina Sommers appeared at Georgetown to discuss feminism (good points and bad), many students responded as if she had arrived on campus firing Uzis in random directions.
So, Millenials in and out of college, I am going to tell you something that your parents and professors have apparently failed to impart to you.
If you follow the idea of “triggers” and “microaggression”, then you might as well stop reading this right now and go throw yourself off something high because you will never be happy if you believe this crap. If you insist on people editing their speech or paperwork so that you and you alone can be comfortable, then no one will want to be around you. If you make a habit of finding racism/sexism in someone else’s conversations, you’ll alienate them and annoy the people who do have to interact with you. And you will have trapped yourself in a world where Klansmen live on either side of you and rapists run the car pool.
So do what you were meant to do at college: think and learn. That’s the only way all those things you fear and hate will lose power.
P.S. And for college professors: stop indulging students. The 60s are over, we’re sick of talking about the Beatles, and your students need to be ready for the real world, where tenure doesn’t exist and results matter, dammit.