The Coddling of the American Mind


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As I read through the article about how American university students are becoming overly sensitive to comments which they feel in some way offend them, I realized something of the same nature is probably happening in India too. People are getting more intolerant of the views they don’t agree with. The debate or discussion is not happening. What is happening is protests and counter protests.

Two terms have risen quickly from obscurity into common campus parlance. Microaggressions are small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless. For example, by some campus guidelines, it is a microaggression to ask an Asian American or Latino American “Where were you born?,” because this implies that he or she is not a real American. Trigger warnings are alerts that professors are expected to issue if something in a course might cause a strong emotional response. For example, some students have called for warnings that Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart describes racial violence and that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby portrays misogyny and physical abuse, so that students who have been previously victimized by racism or domestic violence can choose to avoid these works, which they believe might “trigger” a recurrence of past trauma.

The complete article

The Atlantic — Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt

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