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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Micro-Aggression Thoughts

For John, BLUFPeople are getting to be very sensitive out there.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Blog The Righteous Mind we have a review of a paper, "Where microaggressions really come from: A sociological account".  The author of the review is Professor Jonathan Haidt.

I would like to tell you I have read the paper, but it is $30.  So, I have to search for it at the Library.  Retirement and all that.

At any rate, here is the lede and follow-on paragraph:

I just read the most extraordinary paper by two sociologists — Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning — explaining why concerns about microaggressions have erupted on many American college campuses in just the past few years.  In brief:  We’re beginning a second transition of moral cultures.  The first major transition happened in the 18th and 19th centuries when most Western societies moved away from cultures of honor (where people must earn honor and must therefore avenge insults on their own) to cultures of dignity in which people are assumed to have dignity and don’t need to earn it.  They foreswear violence, turn to courts or administrative bodies to respond to major transgressions, and for minor transgressions they either ignore them or attempt to resolve them by social means.  There’s no more dueling.

Campbell and Manning describe how this culture of dignity is now giving way to a new culture of victimhood in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture.  But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized.  It is the very presence of such administrative bodies, within a culture that is highly egalitarian and diverse (i.e., many college campuses) that gives rise to intense efforts to identify oneself as a fragile and aggrieved victim.  This is why we have seen the recent explosion of concerns about microaggressions, combined with demands for trigger warnings and safe spaces, that Greg Lukianoff and I wrote about in The Coddling of the American Mind.

My rough view is that what used to be interest in our fellow citizens has now become micro-aggression, because people have become sensitive to anything that might even suggest they are not accepted and part of the in crowd.  Frankly, not being part of the in crowd is not all bad.  But, if everyone wishes to think alike and go unchallenged, the "sheeple", I guess that is their choice.  As for me, I am still interested in the grand diversity that is Lowell, that is these United States.  Tell me about yourself and where you come from and what you think about things.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

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