The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD- Trigger Warnings



I don’t usually grab questions from the headlines, but last week I read something that made me wonder. It seems that students at a few institutions of higher learning have begun to request ‘trigger warnings’ on the materials they are asked to read and watch in their classes. They want to be warned if these works might expose them to ideas they find distasteful or offensive, like racism, homophobia or misogyny. In other words, it seems that these college students want to be treated more like children than they already are.

As might be obvious, I am very opposed to this. I think it smacks of intellectual immaturity and fosters this atmosphere of narrow-mindedness  we all seem to be living in now. Are our world-views so fragile that exposure to times past when ‘offensive’ wasn’t a word thrown around like it is today might damage us as people? I don’t think reading Huck Finn will make you a racist. In fact, you might learn something. But if you fear ideas you disagree with and refuse to observe anything that makes you uncomfortable you shouldn’t be in a university. You should be in a dark room with a blanket over your head humming like a moron.

But that’s just my opinion. I want to know yours.

Trigger warnings, reasonable request or cowardly censorship? Why?

About Doran Simmons

I'm a writer and a camper and a keeper of fish. I was trained as a flight instructor and work day jobs and write nonsense for public consumption (hopefully).

2 comments on “QOTD- Trigger Warnings

  1. maryef
    May 22, 2014

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Why are you in college if you are so narrow-minded that you want to be exposed only to ideas that make you feel warm and fuzzy. I, too, find it cowardly to ask for trigger warnings. Poor babies.

  2. Cari
    August 7, 2015

    I recently heard something thought provoking on this topic. A student of color came home in tears; why? Because she was tired of her predominantly white class always turning to her when they read things like Huck Finn, TKAM, etc. – tired of being the center of their “black studies” – tired of always being the “injured” one. So, perhaps there is more to this question than just being “narrow-minded…cowardly…babies”??

    Also, I’m not sure trigger-warnings are a bad thing if they are used to “prepare” the audience to think and discuss trigger-topics reasonably and thoughtfully – definitely don’t like the idea of them being used to avoid discussion.

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This entry was posted on May 22, 2014 by in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , , , .

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