The Right’s criticism of political correctness and trigger warnings that coddle millennials is valid. And willfully missing the point.
The Left responds that it’s time for white males to learn to accept that time’s up on their assumption of superiority over everyone who’s not a white male. Also pretty damn valid and willfully dismissive of a very real condition that needs attention.
The demand that the blue collar white middle class quietly accept the upheaval caused by historic and cultural shifts is PC as a blunt instrument; both self-medicating and a fundamental element in shifting a huge demographic to the GOP. It’s precisely the kind of thing campus safe spaces were conceived to protect students from. History and sociology studies don’t provide an excuse. Screaming at somebody who’s not listening doesn’t bring about the desired change. In fact, there is actually a listening on a very discreet plane. It gets picked up as a toxic cultural meme. Even if the object of your scorn is right in front of you, he’s no more likely to evolve in the face of your screaming than you’re likely to make a rightful ideological shift by being screamed at.
That guy might laugh at your snowflakery but he’d be smart to shut up for a minute and consider his own offspring growing up with childhood bullying and ostracism, having meetings with the Harvey Weinsteins out there, beaten by spouses. Those safe spaces – zones of living with an normalized assumption of acceptance – can be a profound life altering experience for the better. He could probably use a safe space.
On the other hand, that safe space culture is a truly nutty strategy for living. Hardly the mission of higher ed. In the real world after college there will be a lifelong parade of books, films, news reports and conversations with no trigger warnings attached. Where is the offended party supposed to address the assault? There’s likely to be a sense of entitlement to some sort of institutional support.
That wake-up stream, along with a brutal job market, will make post-college life for no less of a disorienting cultural shift than what the blue collar middle class has been experiencing.
In light of the 2016 election it’s time for everybody to the shut the fuck up and check out what life is like for the other side.
We don’t have to accept the bigoted assumptions of a lot of those USA!-shouting white males. But that doesn’t lessen the empathy we can feel about generations of decent paying jobs and stable families turning to unemployment, foreclosures, divorce, humiliation and addiction. Empathy is not zero sum emotion. We have no idea how many of those racist tantrums at Trump rallies are spat by people who a decade earlier were decent non-bigots with stable lives. Any assumption we make about individuals is assembled though bias, a generous word for bigotry.
A second term with a psychoRight president and congress can undo a generation a progress. If our side didn’t alienate so many people with our own narrow-minded bigotry, Trump would never have more than the usual 28% base. And now Antifa is on the way to cementing a neo-Nazi equivalency with at least half the voting public.
If any Lefty believes that the DNA broadband of their comrades, friends, family and themselves is different from that of the other side – they need some Biology 101 ‘splaining.
If our detour through Trumplandia, however long it lasts, doesn’t bust up our certainty zones, we’re headed for the global warming of our society.
— Polar Levine, News Goo Dissection, January 2, 2017
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