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The Daily Wildcat

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Column: Everyone just needs to take a chill pill

We all fit into stereotypes. We hate them or, sometimes, we embrace them, but being stereotyped is a common denominator of being human.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are just true enough to be hilarious in the right situation.

I’m not justifying Nicole Arbour’s YouTube video titled “Dear Fat People” or Louis C.K. comparing child molestation to his love for Mounds candy bars on Saturday Night Live earlier this year.

Comedy, like life, is sometimes shocking and bizarre.

Welcome to 2015, where everything offends everyone.

However, this isn’t about a mean joke or two—how has political correctness taken over campuses across the U.S.?

Many comedians will not go near a college, including Chris Rock and Larry the Cable Guy, because of how politically correct the humor needs to be at an on-campus show.

The extremeness of political correctness has begun to creep its way onto college campuses across the country, and not just when it comes to comedic relief.

A group of students at Harvey Mudd College, one of the five undergraduate schools in The Claremont Colleges consortium, were declined funding by student leaders for a campus party because its “mad scientist” theme was deemed inappropriate. Because Harvey Mudd is known for its mathematics and science programs the party was named “Mudd Goes Madd.” Student leaders decided that this was poking fun at mental illness.

On our own campus, organizations can sign up for a Personal Responsibility Workshop to be taught offensive words, phrases and actions to stay away from. The only true takeaway I had from the speaker was that wearing a Native American headdress to Coachella is crazy offensive.

Don’t we have bigger issues to tackle than my Day 2 outfit?

In September, The Atlantic featured a long investigation into the education system and how students are getting increasingly thin-skinned today.

Authors Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt wrote “The Coddling of the American Mind” and explained how protecting emotional well-being in the classroom can be damaging to education and mental health.

The article discusses two phrases that have become popular in this PC debate on college campuses: microaggressions and trigger warnings.

Microaggressions are small actions or word choices “that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless,” according to The Atlantic.

Trigger warnings are alerts that professors must give to the class if covered material could potentially garner an emotional response.

These two ideas are very real; however, due to the extent of political correctness they have become exploited and overused.

The article explains how asking another student of an ethnic background where they were born could be considered a microaggression, or that using the word “violate” in a law class about rape law should be given a large trigger warning or that even teaching the class should be avoided entirely.

Some college students have complained about reading Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” or F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

If something in class makes you uncomfortable, say something. However, overusing terms like “microaggression” and hiding behind political correctness is wrong. If curriculums begin to change because of offensive, graphic, religion-driven or science-driven material we will have nothing left to study.

In the middle of the article in large, bold-face type is the frightening truth: “According to the most-basic tenants of psychology, helping people with anxiety disorders avoid the things they fear is misguided.”

Even President Barack Obama has stated that political correctness on college campuses has sometimes gone too far, limiting open discussion in classrooms by encouraging the avoidance of certain subjects.

You know you’ve got a problem when POTUS thinks you’re being a little stiff.

Going to college is about leaving your comfort zone and being generally uncomfortable. It’s also about figuring out who you are as a person.

We need to begin to identify the differences between being emotionally distraught versus a moderate disliking of subject matter. Not all classroom materials, party themes or jokes were created to offend you deeply and personally.

Maybe there is an even larger issue behind the growing movement to become more politically correct on college campuses: Is it because our generation is so damn self-centered?


Follow Trey Ross on Twitter.


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