Monday, November 16, 2015

Should we tell the modern-day students to “stifle” with their complaints?

College kids don't protest like they used to (sometimes)
I’m a generation or so away from being a college student, so it shouldn’t be shocking to learn that I’m not in line with the modern-day student.

But those students who are complaining too much about how someone is bothering their sensibilities make me want to let loose the “Archie Bunker” that exists in my personality (and that of all of us, to be honest) and say to them, “Stifle!”

THE IDEA OF students creating “safe places” where people who aren’t in agreement with them are not permitted just seems a tad bit ridiculous.

Because when I was in college some three decades ago, the idea was that this was an ugly society we lived in with people who could be hostile toward us. The knowledge we were gaining was supposedly to help us to cope with this opposition.

Gaining knowledge and wisdom would help us put those critics in their place; not teach us to hide from them.

Or, more accurately, to hide those people from us and try to pretend they don’t really exist.

THAT IS WHAT seems to be happening at too many college campuses these days. It may be the way these people wind up preparing themselves to be completely irrelevant to the reality of our society.

Although I wonder if a part of it merely means the whole social media mentality has taken forth. It is too easy for people to create “worlds” for themselves online in which nothing they disagree with ever comes forth.

And for those ideological crackpots out there who are trying to claim this is evidence of some liberal plot to take over society, let’s be honest.

I have no doubt there also are social groups on campus that isolate themselves into thinking that dissent doesn’t exist. Perhaps they even go about pretending that all those non-anglo people walking around campus and behaving as though they were students are really nothing more than an illusion.

EITHER THAT, OR just someone who gets to be on campus to play for the basketball or football teams and ISN’T REALLY one of them!

What makes any of these crackpot students with their safe haven spaces where they can hide from hostility any different than the fraternity house of old?

For my part, I must confess to attending a private university – not some public college filled with people who wouldn’t have been able to be educated otherwise if not for an in-state tuition rate.

My own mid-1980s college memories weren’t filled with tales of activism. I knew some people who were like that, but they were the exception. It was the Reagan years, and I recall the fact that I actually cast a first presidential ballot for Walter Mondale made me the exception!

MANY MORE OF my student colleagues were people who figured they were going to be part of the establishment, were totally content with that image, and liked the idea that college was part of the system that “weeded out” certain undesirables.

Which is what I’m sure many of my college classmates (many of whom I haven’t seen since that spring of ’87 when we graduated and I returned home to Chicago to start being a reporter-type person) would think of the students of today.

It all reminds me of the jokes that used to be told by the faculty back when I was in college – many of them were students of the ‘60s who had their own activist tendencies, then turned out dismayed at how many of us turned out to be the real-life incarnation of Alex Keaton (remember “Family Ties?” Check out METV for reruns).

And makes me wonder how these students will perceive society some three decades from now – when the protests of places such as Mizzou will be looked upon as yet another bit of nonsense that the “old people” insisted on doing in between campus parties!


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