Post Trump Teaching Moment at Work
November 19, 2016
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So, my class the other day started to whinge about safe-spaces, political correctness, etc. on college campuses today. I got noticeably angry and asked them to remember what college was like in the late 1980s and early 90s, when they and I were there. They said, “It was great! So much better, rawer, tougher etc.”
So I asked, ok, let’s hear from the minorities and women in the room. (There are none). As gently and firmly as I could, I reminded them of the nastiness, meanness, sexism, racism, homophobia that was pretty widespread then and how hard this was on individuals at the time. “It might have been all those wonderful things for you,” I preached, but not everyone agrees with you because not everyone is like you (i.e. privileged [male,White, and well-off]).
I could tell that they remained skeptical, but I think they got the message. Without denying some of the fun and advantages of the old days, there is no going back to safe spaces for racism, misogyny, homophobia and all that, at least there isn’t for decent people. And I am happy to report that the bulk of my students are really good dudes and outstanding professionals.