Happy Spring Break! – Williams Alternative

In College and Hiding from Scary Ideas” – Judith Shulevitz, The New York Times

“[W]hile keeping college-level discussions ‘safe’ may feel good to the hypersensitive, it’s bad for them and for everyone else. People ought to go to college to sharpen their wits and broaden their field of vision. Shield them from unfamiliar ideas, and they’ll never learn the discipline of seeing the world as other people see it. They’ll be unprepared for the social and intellectual headwinds that will hit them as soon as they step off the campuses whose climates they have so carefully controlled. What will they do when they hear opinions they’ve learned to shrink from? If they want to change the world, how will they learn to persuade people to join them?”

2 thoughts on “Happy Spring Break! – Williams Alternative

  1. This is a comment from Joan, a reader from the NYT Comment section:
    “I’m a 40 year old woman who was raped at college when I was 17-and I’m profoundly offended by the idea that it would have been beneficial for me to be protected from hearing certain language and ideas. That’s an absurd and dangerous presumption and an impossible way to live; I daresay it’s an impossible way to heal. We can’t be protected from the world and we shouldn’t demand that our schools hold a proverbial hand over our ears & eyes. Contrary speech, controversial ideas, & novels & memoirs recounting trauma shouldn’t be confused with hate speech or speech that incites violence. We still have men in political power who believe they need to protect women from “profane” language and ideas, many of which are used to describe our own bodies. We women have fought for decades to fully take part in academic, political, and public lives. We should be extremely wary of demoting ourselves back to “the sensitive female” who cannot handle adult talk & needs smelling salts after hearing “shocking” language. I sympathize with anyone who’s suffered trauma but the answer to healing isn’t to demand that the world treat us as small children needing protection from bad words. If you find yourself being triggered by the novel being discussed in class or a speaker or a class assignment, please seek the help of a mental health professional so that you can look forward to fully engaging with the world again.”

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