Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Academic Trigger Warnings

Goodness me friends, what a week it's been. I'm still a student in University, and the new semester started a couple of weeks ago. I adore school, and perhaps someday I'll get my doctorate just so I can be in Academia the rest of my life. But it struck me, a Philosophy Major, as odd that we must provide trigger warnings and safe spaces in Uni. I understand PTSD and particularly mental illness, but I haven't paid tens of thousands of dollars to not be challenged because such challenges might set someone off.

I for example, have several triggers that can send me into a depressive episode. I won't tell you what they are, though, because I don't want to avoid them. I don't want to shy away from my weaknesses or force others to change how they behave because I might be much too sad for a few days or weeks. Am I really in the minority in this outlook? Are my peers really such delicate little flowers that they can't abide hearing an opinion, however wrong it may be, that they crumble at mere words?

One of my (many, many) mantras is that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. I'd rather know that there is a homophobe in my class than have him/her keep quiet. I'd rather know if a politician hates women than if they just keep quiet, all the while passing misogynistic legislation. The reasons are thus. The first is that I will respect that person more for being honest, even if it's something I don't like. Phyllis Schlafly was a horrible person, but I respect her for being honest. The second is, at least I'll know who to watch out for. I'd rather see an attack coming than be KO'd out of nowhere. If I see the guy in class who spouts homophobic slurs walking towards me in a dark alley, while carrying a baseball bat, I'll have a pretty good idea of what his intentions are.

So why are we gay people, at the least, shying away from those who disagree with us, and at the most, silencing them? How does that make us the bigger person? If you're a gay person in Uni, demand to be challenged. Dare to have your mind changed by someone or something else, and above all, welcome those who disagree with you into your inner circles (just make them leave their baseball bats at the door). Yes, I am advocating for a return to a seemingly more brutal culture, and I shall not apologize for it. The LGBT lobby did not accomplish all that it has by being delicate little flowers. I've got to jet. Be humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you next time.

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