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?