There’s a disturbing trend on American college campuses: an extreme attempt to limit speech that might be offensive. We’re not talking about out-and-out racism, sexism, or any other -ism. This is a hyper-sensitivity — beyond any previous definition of “political correctness” — that supposedly shields young adults from words and ideas that make them uncomfortable.
Greg Lukianoff, CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has written about this in the September cover story of The Atlantic. When he joined me on the air, he offered several surprising examples (e.g. avoiding such seemingly innocuous phrases as “America is the land of opportunity” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job”) and explained:
- Two terms I was unfamiliar with: microaggressions and trigger warnings.
- What happens when they get out into the real world?
- Are company HR departments becoming swamped by employees complaining they’re offended?
- How did we get here?
- Are increasingly partisan politics to blame?
- Does labeling a lesson with a trigger warning almost guarantee someone will complain?