Racism (On Campus) is a Public Health Crisis
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
1303

All humans are exposed to adversity from other humans. Since the human condition is such that one human will always recognize the difference and otherness of humans who do not match him or her in some demographic way, the focus should NOT be on trying to legislate a human behavior out of existence. Instead, the focus should shift to training the people who are most vulnerable to managing the adversity and remaining strong despite it.

No, I am not kidding.

Raising children to be tolerant and accepting of others is desirable, of course. Preventing an environment from being overtly racist and impervious to repercussions is likewise desirable.

However, this latest attempt to legislate adversity out of existence, and to sanitize an environment so that people have to walk on eggshells for fear of ‘micro-aggressing,’ and ‘triggering’ is destructive.

I do not condone racism or bigotry, but I do not support the creation of an artificial reality to shield people from all forms of discomfort and to create hypersensitivity to all language in search of a reason to take offense.

When I was in college almost forty years ago, pushing the envelope was part of the objective, and those who went too far were subject to the ramifications of their excesses. As it should be, the limits of society and the range of acceptable behaviors was measured one interaction at a time, not overseen by an agency that declared some artificially designated area a ‘safe space.’

The world is rough and tumble. Let’s create ways to help people navigate the world as it is, instead of trying to incapacitate everyone in hopes of obviating the need for resilience.

If we want people to be strong, affirmative, and empowered, we need to help them stand tall in the face of discomfort, not buffer them from all hardship.

I anticipate that I will get yelled at for excusing bigotry. I am not. Safe spaces are not real, and never will be. Micro-aggressions are a fabrication. Triggers, as they are currently made operational, are nothing more than invitations to promote victimization. I would rather spend the time and energy on providing people with the tools to validate and affirm themselves in the face of all types of adversity.

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