1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

General News Racist University of Chicago slam trigger warnings and safe spaces

Discussion in 'Current Events, World News, & LGBT News' started by Robert, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. Robert

    Robert Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    .
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    As I already pointed out, there are ways to discuss and discredit racist point of views without giving credence and legitimacy to racists.

    I, for one, dont wish for racists to be allowed to spout their hatred in the faces of black students.

    ---------- Post added 26th Aug 2016 at 10:56 PM ----------

    Wordword
     
    #21 Robert, Aug 26, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  2. Jellal

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Florida
    Gender:
    Female (trans*)
    "Some beliefs are unacceptable..."
    It's a university campus. People are expected to think, analyze, and critique what they're told. If an idea is poisonous or harmful, then leave it to group discussion to determine why it is so. The moment you start setting up barriers in classrooms to what can be said, and silencing strains of thought that you don't agree with, you've forfeited the ability to have true debate. And here's an example of what I mean:
    Do you need to have "anti-feminist" opinions to have free and honest debate in a feminist course? Well, you can certainly have debates strictly within the parameters of feminism. But by choosing to absolutely ban those "anti-feminist" opinions without giving the class a chance to engage them, you are limiting the scope of the dialogue in that class to only the ideas you are more comfortable potentially agreeing with. You're throwing away a chance to think outside the box for the sake of walking your party's line and refusing to step out of it for even a moment.
     
  3. Robert

    Robert Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    .
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    No. I never said that anti-feminist points of view shouldnt be discussed. I clearly stated that, and I quote myself here, that different points of views should be heard but should be heard "in the correct way.
    For example, I would, of course, say that it is fine for students to learn about the Holocaust. But I would not allow for a neo-nazi to come in to give a lecture justifying it."
     
  4. Jellal

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Florida
    Gender:
    Female (trans*)
    Alright, Robert. I was wondering what you meant by hearing "different points of view in the 'correct' way." The neo-nazi example you gave was pretty extreme, so I figured it was being used to blanket much smaller and less obviously glaring examples. (I'm used to jumping the gun and assuming most people I talk to on the internet will try to win their arguments with disingenuous statements.)

    It seems like you are not against free debate in classrooms, and that's really what this "trigger warning safe space" issue boils down to. Not the dissolution of student club rights. Classes are just supposed to maintain academic integrity. In response to your example, I still think that finding out what Neo-nazis believe and why could help you understand where their ignorance stems from. You don't need to invite an actual neo-nazi in to speak about it though (I'd advise against that. Rarely do you invite a guest speaker just to show students how stupid and wrong they are.)

    In regards to guest speakers in general, colleges have a right to bar or welcome any speaker they choose and it's up to students whether or not to give them the time of day. From what I've seen with guest speakers, they typically host a question panel at the end so that if students disagree they can voice their questions and bring the debate to the speaker. It's a great way of finding out how well the speaker's opinions hold up against opposition.
     
  5. faustian1

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    722
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    They won't. Let me describe why, using a different example.

    Suppose the Westboro Baptists picket a Marine Corps funeral, and proclaim that God brought it all down on the deceased, for the usual reasons they cite. If a bunch of marines come out and beat the shit out of them, I suppose I'd say that it's illegal, not all that mature, and shouldn't be happening.

    On the other hand, I'd suggest to the Westboro guys that they could find sympathy, between "shit" and "syphilis" in the dictionary.
     
  6. Skaros

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,254
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    All but family
    Glad they understand.

    That whole costume "cultural appropriation" drama at Yale last autumn was cringe worthy. Hope the students don't turn this into another one of those. U of C is a very liberal school, probably just as liberal as Yale is.
     
  7. Austin

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Messages:
    3,171
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Good for the University of Chicago.
     
  8. Wen

    Wen
    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2016
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    U.S.
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    I saw this on Tumblr just now and agree 100%.
    Also, personally I think if you're racist you shouldn't feel comfortable expressing your racist "opinions". You SHOULD feel like you'll get backlash. Same thing if you're sexist, homophobic, etc. I'm not at all surprised there are people who think what the UoC is doing is a step forward or is absolutely fine though. They're the same people who believe people should be able to be racist without fear and spout ignorance, because it's their right to believe and say such things. The fact there's tons of people supporting Donald Trump and who call anyone who talks about oppression and justice "social justice warriors" is enough for me to not be surprised by this kind of thing.
     
  9. Chiroptera

    Admin Team Full Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2014
    Messages:
    2,254
    Likes Received:
    1,130
    Location:
    Brazil
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I understand what you are saying.

    However, in most cases (and not so extreme as in this example), it isn't clear where we should draw the line. In most cases, the "correct way" is in the eyes of the beholder. What is "the correct way"?

    "But who's to judge/The right from wrong?" -Metal Gear Rising

    An university campus should be as free as possible to discuss everything. Cases like the one you mentioned are punctual (rare), and do not justify a general restriction for everything else.

    Basically, what i'm trying to say has already been said by Jellal, so i don't have much more to add for now.
     
  10. OGS

    OGS
    Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Messages:
    2,667
    Likes Received:
    680
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Two of my degrees are from the University of Chicago and I have to say I've never encountered a setting where rigorous free debate was more valued. I know people think that all Universities are like that but the U of C really is different. My other degree is from Harvard so it's not like that was all pink fluffy unicorns but the U of C is intense. If you are not prepared to have your most basic beliefs questioned and criticized, if you feel certain things are beyond needing to be articulated and defended it's not the school for you. When I read this statement from the U of C my gut reaction is simply that it is truth in advertising. A certain type of student is going to thrive there--89 Nobel Laureates is not to be sneezed at. But it lends itself to a particular type of experience. That isn't the experience that everyone is looking for. Frankly, I think the statement is itself a fairly accurate trigger warning.
     
  11. AwesomGaytheist

    Full Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2013
    Messages:
    6,887
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    How about the university in New York that's offering a "Diversity" course entitled StopWhitePeople2k16?
     
  12. Blackbirdz

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2015
    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    East Coast
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    As I already stated, there are limits to free speech. The University of Chicago is a private institution and it can define (in stricter terms) what is and is not considered acceptable in their code of conduct.

    Nevertheless, outside of a college campus, hate speech (such as the racist example you gave) is still protected speech. And even though I strongly disagree with it, I still think it must continue to be protected speech. There may come a time when you hold a controversial and unpopular belief, an issue you feel so strongly about that you want to speak out - maybe to protest an injustice or to fight for civil rights. Whatever it is, you will be thankful that your right to free speech exists no matter how unpopular your beliefs may be. And in order to keep that right to free speech, you need to let the bigots of the world have their say as well.
     
    #32 Blackbirdz, Aug 26, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  13. gasian

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2015
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    SE USA
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    That was a really stupid title for the course. Read this:
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/juliareins...hitepeople2k?utm_term=.axAgxK0Mq4#.glll2GRAKE

    "The premise of this section is to help others take the next step in understanding diversity, privilege, and the society we function within." Basically: get woke. People have privilege, and it's their job to understand that they have it. Whether they be white, cisgender, straight, male, and/or christian (and that's not even delving into other privileges, these are just the main 5), some people are born into privilege, which sometimes, isn't even about monetary wealth. And even if you don't think you have privilege...you probably do. Heck, even I'm privileged.

    I haven't been through something I'd consider traumatizing enough to require a trigger warning. But if I did, I'd want there to be a place where I know that I'm going to be okay in, where somebody won't bring it up intentionally...in other words, a safe space.
     
  14. guitar

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    2,062
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    There is nothing racist about this letter.
     
  15. I'm_Danni_x

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2014
    Messages:
    384
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    Yeah I have no objection to this at all. How would they draw the lines between free speech and hate speech?
     
  16. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,337
    Likes Received:
    3,157
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I've been watching all of the ridiculous demands of millenials for trigger warnings at classes, demands that teachers not teach certain triggering material, or that students "triggered" by these topics be excused from class. In one word: Bullshit. Here's a slightly edited version of something I posted on a similar Facebook post.

    People have experienced sexual trauma, rape, PTSD (although by a different name), racism and other discrimination, and many other events capable of triggering people for thousands of years.

    The psychology profession has recognized most or all of these issues for decades, in some cases since the dawn of the profession.

    NEVER until the current generation of entitled special snowflakes has the world been expected to censor language, filter discussion, avoid talking about topics, or even to issue a thousand warnings about potentially 'triggering' words, phrases, or topics.

    This is 100% a function of people who for some reason believe that *their* issues are the responsibility of someone else.

    Competent professionals in the psychology, counseling and related fields have, for decades, helped people living with these very real and debilitating traumas to understand and work with them, to develop strategies to handle situations when they are triggered, and to function in a world that does not, should not, and hopefully will not alter the way it functions to accommodate the requirements of a tiny minority of special snowflakes who mistakenly believe the world should revolve around them and their needs.

    As I said, this is not a remotely new issue. I had students with trigger issues when I was a student and when I taught. They correctly saw it as their issue to address and everything worked fine.

    Somewhere we need to draw a line. The more we let entitled people attempt to control everyone around them by demanding to be warned of every possible trigger under the sun, the more we further a generation of swaddled, entitled people... And that will not make for a functional society.

    Additionally, the whole nature of rigorous academic education is challenging people, stirring them up, encouraging critical thought, debate, and analysis. Every decent class taught at a university is likely to have topics come up that could be triggering to someone.

    So here's a solution: Maybe every college should include, as part of their initial application, a disclaimer that says something like

    That would effectively address the issue and set everyone on notice that they need to work with their chosen mental health professional to address these issues prior to attending college.

    Anything else is just entitlement and attention seeking.
     
  17. Aussie792

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Messages:
    3,317
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    Australia
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Universities have a social obligation not to cause harm to their students. But that's heavily qualified and limited by the mission of the university and the conceptual underpinnings of what universities do.

    They have a special obligation not to institutionally deny debate to contentious areas - hence the enormous range of views in philosophy departments, with leading academics including undeniably controversial people like Peter Singer, who offends many people with disabilities but also has the support of certain others.

    Universities can provide support in many ways - funding accessible mental health services for students, allowing student advocacy to reach the highest levels of the university and engaging in transparent consultation processes.

    But when it comes to curricula, it's a dangerous idea simply to shut down debate, especially when triggers are so rife. It would be ridiculous, for example, to forbid criminal law students from discussing rape cases in clinical terms in public areas or to allow a student who has gone through domestic violence to completely avoid the topic when studying family law or the psychology of family. Not because people's feelings don't matter, but because the raison d'être of a university is to allow those discussions to happen, which serves a more important social function than individuals' experiences. If the two are mutually exclusive, the least burdensome one must prevail.

    Triggers and morally challenging views are inherent to academia. There are ways to accommodate them, to give disclaimers and allow students to make decisions about what they want to study overall. But there is no way, without destroying academic freedom and corrupting the essence of what an elite university education does and should look like, to completely prevent triggers and render the whole of a university a safe space.

    It is never going to be the case that a prestigious Western research university will invite a virulent Nazi or activist of some other genocide to give lectures. That is just a ridiculous assertion. Universities will give tenure to invite people to speak who have intellectually stimulating views contrary to the institutional orthodoxy that universities tend to develop, not intellectual nobodies defined by their nastiness.

    Just as a climate-policy think tank is not wrong to invite a person to speak who believes developing countries have no moral obligation to curb emissions, for the sake of diversifying debate and forcing its members to strengthen their positions and broaden their outreach, universities must go above and beyond to stimulate, rather than merely protect, their students' minds. To do otherwise is to create narrow-minded polemicists rather than scholars.
     
  18. scanner007

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2012
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ladies and Gentlemen and those in between, (and maybe Robert too)

    I offer a small rant for your review....

    Just as Justice is personified as a blind women, holding scales and a sword...I wonder if free speech were to be personified in such a way if she would not possibly (and Ironically) be deaf? The idea being that all speech, ideas and beliefs are an acceptable topic to express views and all are open for discussion. A personified deaf free speech entity couldn't in itself judge the speech, but rather let all speech flow around her.

    Now as far as these triggers and safe spaces go. I think people my age and older who are well past the college age days believe those concepts have been perverted by a generation of well, as we used to say back in the day, a bunch of pussies. To someone older than 30, I think a lot of us fear that the younger generation of today has become so over-privileged, over-entitled and coddled to the point of ridiculousness that instead of becoming more enlightened, they gone full circle and have actually become more ignorant and depraved to the point that they are worse than ever. Do people under 30 really believe that taking the proper pill or downloading the right app will solve all of life's problems and it's as simple as that? Oh dear God I hope not.

    Remember life is not supposed to always be "pleasant". We are here to learn and experience and sometimes the best teacher is suffering and pain. If we hide from this, we are consumed by fear. NOT A GOOD THING AT ALL. (And dammit I had to walk to school everyday, look both ways before crossing the street and if a stranger offered me candy I was taught to say NO and not get into his van - I wasn't so sheltered that I got a ride everyday so the neighborhood creep couldn't diddle me or a plethora of various other perils awaiting my daily venture to my learning institution.)

    So I have a question for you. Many would say they value the ideals of American Society (more aptly, the ideals of freedom and democracy) Some would say when you fight for your country and die to protect those ideals for future generations, that among those are the protection of free speech. So my question to you is this...assuming you would die to protect free speech and all of the gifts of freedom it grants, wouldn't that also include speech that might possibly be against what you believe and may even contradict your morals? Hate Speech, Racism, Religious Beliefs, Neo-Nazi Political Propaganda and nasty chocolate chip oatmeal cookies somehow being better than Oatmeal Raisin Cookies?

    I think we should all remember to make the distinction that free speech is just that. It's a respect for the thoughts and ideas of others. It's about expressing and and exchanging those ideas constructively but that doesn't mean you have to agree. The important thing is the critical thinking that goes on sometimes in your own mind, sometimes with other people. Without this openness, we simply cannot function properly.

    All thoughts and ideas must be acceptable to debate and evaluate. Without this, we are simply doing what we're told without question. Creativity and genius dies. I would think this forum would be especially open to free speech simply because it's usually been a poignant and personal aspect of our lives. My point? Racism is bad, totalitarianism is bad, religious zealots are bad, eating ice cream way too fast is bad and all faggots will burn in hell when they die. Oops wait what?

    I don't know if many are like me, but I had to ask myself this question at one time myself. I grew up hearing that word faggot all the time and that gay people were wrong. It was thought that homosexuals have a mental illness and are more prone to criminal activity. And saddest of all, there was no hope because even after I die there is nothing for me but burning, raging lake of fire for all eternity. Many learned this every Sunday at church and our families raised us to believe this. Yet we are in a unique position to question and reevaluate and not just take things like this at face value.

    So thats the cause of part of my rant here. Its about seeing both sides of the argument and its about distinguishing the difference between a good process and a bad concept. Free speech is good, racism is bad. But without the process of free speech to let us properly evaluate racism as a concept truthfully, we would've never arrived at that conclusion. We just can't learn and grow properly without a truthful exchange of ideas, even hate speech, even unpleasant ideas.

    Well thankfully, free speech prevailed, I searched inside myself and read and heard the thoughts of others. I asked myself what kind of person I was and what kind of person I wanted to be. I learned that the whole point isn't to be rubber stamped with a ticket to hell but to live up to one's own expectations and be the person you want yourself to be. I learned that if I try to do good and make the right choices and live a life with compassion and an open heart - that I was actually getting the point of what life was all about. (The Journey)

    So I humbly suggest before you ever seek to caution someone against believing in one idea or another because that's the way YOU SEE IT or stifling their voice in the name of righteousness, that you remember why freedom of speech so precious, and without it you'd have never been able to see things truthfully and develop your own set of values and ethics that guides the choices which define you.

    *deep breath* *rant over*

    So yeah, I wrote this because specifically because of some of Robert's remarks, and of people who are like minded. No I don't want to see a bunch of racist spewing hate in front of black people either, its disgusting. But the culture of today, the idea of disallowing that, or being fired for something you said on facebook or whatever, I think we all need to see things more openly on both sides and especially so on subjects that are less obvious than racism and the like. We should not be so absolute. We should respect the rights of others and let them believe whatever they want, more so then less I think.

    I'd also like to offer one more final thought regarding all this crap about triggers and safe spaces on campuses across the country.
    First of all, it's completely unnecessary. In the United States we have one great big safe space guaranteed by the US Constitution's Bill of Rights and it spans the entire country.
    And second, on these triggers. I'd like every one to consider the origin of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Before it was called that, it was called Shell Shock. And that term was coined because men would go to war and see their best friends, their buddies and people they'd grown up with and lived with all their lives in the much smaller town and world they lived in back then - - - they would go to war and see their brothers explode into pieces in front of them and be splattered with bits of their flesh and blood spraying into their mouth. The next moment another friend would die in their arms and they'd duck just in time to avoid the same fate, now after enduring this repetitively for days, weeks and finally months...some of them would eventually CRACK.
    I find it naive, ridiculous and distasteful to compare the awful reality of what these men endured to a "trigger" of being uncomfortable about a particular topic of study or lecture. It just isn't the same thing at all. And to avoid learning about something unpleasant simply because you find it to be such, well I for one, find that offensively ignorant.

    I love you all,
    have a great day,
    Scanner

    ---------- Post added 27th Aug 2016 at 04:49 AM ----------

    As posted by Chip
    OMG "entitled special snowflakes" now thats a trigger for me ...a LMAO trigger of awesomeness. You aptly described what I was trying to say in three words.
     
  19. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    15,337
    Likes Received:
    3,157
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Unfortunately not the case, on this specific issue. In a stunning display of ineptitude, my alma mater, Oberlin College, managed to hire a professor who is an incredibly angry, racist (anti-Jew) and who apparently has some other very odd conspiracy-theorist-like views, which she regularly shares to her classes. This outrage went on for over a year, and has caused an international embarrassment for a school with a longstanding (almost 200 year) history of nondiscrimination and very forward-thinking views.

    Fortunately, after enough outrage among the alums, they've suspended her and most likely she will quietly disappear after taking hush money from the college (their standard way of dealing with uncomfortable topics.)

    So these problems can occur. But... even in these cases it is not the school's responsibility to issue trigger warnings. Nor is it the school's responsibility to issue trigger warnings if there's a movie with blood, or surgery, or gory violence. Or anything else. Students need to be big girls and big boys and handle these issues themselves, maturely and responsibly, as students before them have done for hundreds of years. If the school does anything else, it's pandering to special snowflakes, and that simply isn't helpful to anyone (including these entitled brats) in the long run.
     
  20. Aussie792

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Messages:
    3,317
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    Australia
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    You're right, I was far too assertive there.

    I do think your example shows that even without this particular form of limitation, there is still an incentive not to do crazy things like employing an anti-semite where her antisemitism was openly expressed. The outcry provokes an response and the reputational embarrassment is enough for universities to limit their behaviours themselves.

    Fortunately, that's still an uncommonly egregious situation for a university to get itself into, mainly because those universities can't risk the damage to their reputations as academically rigorous and socially useful.