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posted by LaminatorX on Monday May 19 2014, @06:24AM   Printer-friendly

Raw Story summarizes a New York Times report that Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as "trigger warnings," explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans.

The debate has left many academics fuming, saying that professors should be trusted to use common sense and that being provocative is part of their mandate. Trigger warnings, they say, suggest a certain fragility of mind that higher learning is meant to challenge, not embrace. "Any kind of blanket trigger policy is inimical to academic freedom," said Lisa Hajjar, a sociology professor, who often uses graphic depictions of torture in her courses about war. "Any student can request some sort of individual accommodation, but to say we need some kind of one-size-fits-all approach is totally wrong. The presumption there is that students should not be forced to deal with something that makes them uncomfortable is absurd or even dangerous."

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said, "It is only going to get harder to teach people that there is a real important and serious value to being offended. Part of that is talking about deadly serious and uncomfortable subjects."

A summary of the College Literature, along with the appropriate trigger warnings, assumed or suggested in the article is as follows: Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" (anti-Semitism), Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" (suicide), "The Great Gatsby" (misogynistic violence), and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (racism).

Note: The Raw Story link was provided to provide an alternative to the article source, the New York Times, due to user complaints about the NYT website paywalling their articles.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19 2014, @12:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19 2014, @12:26PM (#45181)

    That's what should be written on big red cards and handed to anyone who complains about needing "trigger warnings."

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VortexCortex on Monday May 19 2014, @01:57PM

    by VortexCortex (4067) on Monday May 19 2014, @01:57PM (#45208)

    I was watching the evening news with a friend of mine. A segment about a local murder came on. She shielded her eyes with her hands and looked away. I asked her if the content was upsetting her and if I should turn the channel to something else. She said, "No, just tell me when the flashing lights are over, I have epilepsy and flashing lights can trigger my photosensitive seisures."

    I thought about it and said, "Oh wow, I never noticed how often the news just shows blatant flashing lights like that, damn it must suck for you. I wonder if they shouldn't at least put up a warning or something so it doesn't trigger your seizures?" This was the first time I actually thought a 'trigger warning' wasn't a moronic idea... She told me, "No, it's OK. It sucks sometimes, but the whole world shouldn't have to suffer just because there's something wrong with me." ...and that was the last time I ever thought a trigger warning wasn't a moronic idea.

    These professionally offended Social Justice Warrior nutters make victims out to be some kind of permanently damaged social invalid, as if their trauma is so bad the world should try to save them from the reality of it. What kind of fucked up message does that send actual victims? You're so screwed up, you'll never be the same... If it was me I'd be thinking, "Well, I'm messed up forever. Being abused is worse than murder. I'll never be the same, I've lost myself. I might as well off myself so I'm not a burden to society." That's why people are NOT defined by their being a victim.

    Protip: Disabled folks just want to be treated as normal people. SJWs aren't helping anyone.