Trigger Warning

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There have been several things rampant over the last few years, but the one that worries me most (except for climate change), is how people have been refusing to feel offended. Not in a healthy, “I see your point but it doesn’t affect me” way, but in a coddling, overprotective way.

“Don’t teach rape law1 say anything about sex 2 anything related to violence3 and oh, I also don’t like the word ‘meat.’4
Warning: you will be triggered.

We’re moving towards a more inclusive society faster than ever. A society where everyone is accepted and appreciated, no matter their color, sexual orientation or gender. And that’s great.

But don’t you dare state your opinion.

… what?

Now, one thing is oppressing people, not giving them the same rights you get, calling them names and disrespecting them. Another one entirely is stating your opinion and discussing controversial topics. College students are complaining about topics they have to deal with in class.

Just let that sink in for a moment.

If a professor can’t teach rape law, we’ll be handing out diplomas to students who don’t know about it, and that’s just the start of this whole arrangement.

The more serious problem is that more and more, people are refusing to expose themselves to controversial topics, to go out of their comfort zone. And we’re accepting that?! We’re saying it’s ok, that they get to graduate and start working anyway?!

“You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred. Ask yourself, What do we want in this country above all? People want to be happy, isn’t that right?…Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, to the incinerator.”
Fahrenheit 451

An unrelated discussion recently reminded me of this book and quote. I first read it last year and was worried that we seemed to be headed in that direction, that we would soon start burning books to make everyone content. Well, it doesn’t show signs of stopping, and I’m more and more worried by the day. A few weeks ago, a café in Vienna barred right-wing voters from entering.5

More and more I see people deprive themselves of opposite viewpoints. More and more I see people deprive themselves of even listening to what others have to say, simply because they don’t agree with it.

Is that where we’re headed? To a world where we can’t have, let alone express our opinions? To a world where we’re all told we’re special snowflakes and it’s ok to remain ignorant? To a world that coddles us because we’re oh so fragile?

I don’t think that’s what we need. I don’t think humans evolved as rapidly as they did because they were afraid to question, afraid of the unknown, afraid of getting uncomfortable and dealing with it from time to time.

If we ever start burning books, I hope I’ve left this world by then.

Footnotes

  1. http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/trouble-teaching-rape-law
  2. http://chronicle.com/article/My-Title-IX-Inquisition/230489/?key=Tj8iIVA8NStOZnEyMTsVbG4EbHA/OB94YHUYOH5xbltWEQ==
  3. http://reason.com/blog/2016/05/09/trigger-warning-at-oxford-squeamish-law
  4. Just search tumblr, you’ll find several examples but I didn’t wanna go down that rabbit hole.
  5. http://www.thelocal.at/20160426/vienna-cafe-tells-bars-far-right-voters-austria-presidential-election
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