“The Coddling of the American Mind” analyzes the increasing attempts to censor American colleges. The movement is being led largely by the student body, and staff are being forced to adapt in order to adhere to the new social constructs the students are establishing. The article argues that in universities attempts to avoid offending students, they may negatively affect the students themselves. There are several sources that provide evidence for this theory, such as Feeling Good and Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders. These articles claim that protecting young students from potential ‘microaggressions’ could weaken them to the point where they are unable to cope with any sort of verbal negativity that may contain potential ‘trigger words.’ These two terms originated in American colleges in order to categorize terms, phrases, and subjects professors mustn’t say to avoid offending. This is led a mass amount of backlash from teachers, who have published works describing how fragile the college environment has become, and how they are now forced to issue “trigger warnings” before discussing potentially controversial subject matter in order to avoid offending an increasingly sensitive student body. However, these teachers are then ostracized for their lack of sensitivity towards what college students are considering a major issues. Critics of the situation worry that not only are students becoming less about to cope with stress or aggression, but that this sudden influx of political correctness is stunting diversity. There have been a number of occasions where speakers wishing to visit a university have been disinvited for fear of “triggering” member of the student body. This allows for judging a person entirety based on one aspect in their character, regardless of what else they may believe in. In addition to this, it only allows for like-minded people to give speeches, creating an environment in which students never encounter viewpoints that challenge their own. Instead of shielding university students from phrases and ideas that they may perceive to be offensive, colleges should be doing what they can to provide students the ability to survive in a world full of ideas that they cannot control, and eventually will be forced to encounter. Many argue that this has become such an issue that the government should get involved, and better define what can be categorized as harassment. This would help lessen college’s impulse to limit their student’s speech.
I think that the whole idea of “trigger warnings” is somewhat absurd. Society has evolved into something completely unrecognizable to what it was as little as 10 years ago. It is the direct result of the wave of political correctness that been established in this country, unique to the majority of the rest of the world. The idea of political correctness and its necessity has been argued for years now. While many believe that political correctness is nothing more than avoiding certain words and phrases that are acknowledged as offensive or hurtful in an effort to raise a generation of decent human beings, others have deemed political correctness as a means of censoring society to such a degree that they are no longer able to exercise their freedom of speech. I personally believe that there are very few valid arguments in favor of political correctness, and that it has effectively sterilized our culture and has created an environment where speech is under constant scrutiny. The reason that this has become such a major issue in universities is because they act as their own community, effectively closed off from their host city. It’s in these communities that students act as the citizens and the school board the government. It is here that these issues such as the presence of “microaggressions” are magnified among the relatively small population of students and staff. Here we can see a clash of political ideologies among these two groups. I am aware that my views are heavily influenced by my political ideology, being a Midwestern conservative (a dying concept among the youth of this generation), but I feel that the influence of politics on these young adults has caused them to become far too sensitive to what can be argued to be an increasingly difficult society to grow up in. While it is true that it has become a much tougher world in the past 10 years, young adults have taken what is, in my opinion, the completely wrong approach to dealing with it. Rather than find a way to evolve with the world and be prepared to face these controversial and potentially aggressive terms and ideas, they have instead chosen to avoid the issue or attack it with the hopes that their complaining and protesting will cause the issue to disappear. This is not a safe or healthy method of dealing with conflict, and yet it is what universities have decided to encourage this behavior, and it is reflected in the students they are introducing into society.