Students across the country are demanding colleges become safe spaces, where any speech or action that might offend or hurt feelings or descent from the notion of political correctness be banned. In an essay for MediaShift, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst explains why these kids need to suck it the fuck up. Here’s the kicker: She’s a Muslim and a woman of color, which fits the bill for someone who is “marginalized” by society.
Shaheen Paha says that by coddling our college students, we are doing them a disservice in preparing them for the real world, where other people have opinions that might *gasp* be different from their own. She says that if we continue to allow colleges to turn into safe spaces, students will be unequipped to deal with the harsh reality that the world isn’t always a perfect place.
College is not a safe space. It was never intended to be. It is a place where debates can turn heated and ugly and the cruel realities of the world come crashing down on students, preparing them for the very real discourse they will face upon graduation. It is a time to grow out of the protective cocoon of childhood and face the fact that the world can be an unpleasant place.
The political correctness shitstorm has already stunk up her classroom, where she’s had students of all ethnicities be offended for all kinds of necessary yet uncomfortable lessons. She also highlights the importance of putting honest journalism above the sensitivities of students, which, as we saw at Mizzou, is a dying sentiment.
As a professor, I am sensitive to the needs of my students, but I cannot coddle them. I have had students walk out of a class when I taught about the horrific 2012 Delhi rape without offering a trigger warning. Another former student came to my office to demand an apology for showing an Al Jazeera report on the families of the Dimona suicide bombers in Israel because “terrorists do not deserve to have stories done about them that may humanize them in any way.” And I’ve had former students angered by class discussions on Ferguson and race relations in the country that offended them as white people.
Impeding journalism in the quest for safe spaces is a no-win situation. As a journalism instructor, I will be sending out the next generation of reporters to witness and report on the horrors of the world. If they cannot handle the stress of an uncomfortable class discussion, they will have a hard time in the profession.
Paha nails it.
Social Justice Warriors, get over yourselves. If you don’t, the real world is going to fuck you up worse than any microaggression or macroaggression or incorrectly-used gender pronoun ever will..
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