I did read your article and though, my reading comprehension leaves much to be desired, it’s my understanding that you offer a certain level of individual counseling to your students and you do allow them to “opt out” by asking them how they will address the material when they “can’t attend class on a certain day, or they can’t do a certain assignment” due to subject matter. You also implied censorship with, “Let’s be careful with language.”
I’m wondering when education became more about individual feelings and less about intellectual growth? I’m also wondering who made the call that it’s better to ignore your problems, at least until the emotional boogeyman has passed than it is to address your issues and move forward with your life? Is that really what we want to cultivate in people, a catered society of warning labels and lists?
Once this form of coddling sets in, there will be no end to it.
Here’s a trigger warning list I found in several places on The Google:
May Contain: misogyny, the death penalty, calories in a food item, terrorism, drunk driving, how much a person weighs, racism, gun violence, Stand Your Ground laws, drones, homophobia, PTSD, slavery, victim-blaming, abuse, swearing, child abuse, self-injury, suicide, talk of drug use, descriptions of medical procedures, corpses, skulls, skeletons, needles, discussion of “isms,” neuroatypical shaming, slurs (including “stupid” or “dumb”), kidnapping, dental trauma, discussions of sex (even consensual), death or dying, spiders, insects, snakes, vomit, pregnancy, childbirth, blood, scarification, Nazi paraphernalia, slimy things, holes and anything that might inspire intrusive thoughts in people with OCD.
I can’t imagine how much time you must spend discussing these issues and preparing each individual for the emotional pitfalls they will encounter in their quest for knowledge.
It won’t stop there either, soon our Trigger Warning Lists will have Trigger Warning Lists and the Trigger Warning Lists for the Trigger Warning Lists will have Content Warnings…
Sometimes in life, something will sneak up and kick our legs out from under us and we need to grieve or take time to put things into perspective. That doesn’t mean we should expect the world to start handling us with kid gloves because it won’t. Sometimes, we’re going to have to just suck it up. I’m all for carrying my fellow man (can I say ‘fellow man’) while he can’t walk but as soon as his legs are working again, he needs to get busy moving on his own. He fell and couldn’t walk, will he remember that? Yes. Should he be scared of falling again? I would be. Should he close his eyes whenever he’s in danger of falling again?
I’ve learned more from the bad things that have happened to me than all of the good stuff combined. Whatever didn’t kill me made me stronger and all that. As fucked up as I am, I can’t imagine how fucked up I’d be had I been allowed to avoid everything that might have upset me or made me feel uncomfortable, let alone the bad shit.
Reality doesn’t let you know when something bad is coming and it doesn’t give you a list of things to look out for, most of the time it blindsides us. If we curl up in a ball when it kicks us, it’s going to kick us again, seemingly, just for sport.
This is not a personal attack on you, Kimberly, but more of a statement of how I see you as a part of a larger problem. Instead of focusing our attention on how hurtful things can make us feel oogey and designating safe spaces to hide in, we should be training kids to go out and change the world we fucked up.