By: Mark Glennon*
Never mind that he’s talking about many who his university educated, including me. Any of you who question campus preoccupation with safe spaces, trigger warnings and microagressions are idiots and lunatics. That’s what Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro told new students this past week in his welcoming address. Articles about his comments include those in CampusReform and The Daily Northwestern.
“Look for safe spaces,” Schapiro told the freshman, and he pledged that “if you can’t find them, we will help you find them.” Regarding traumatic ideas, Schapiro says, “If they say that…you shouldn’t be warned to prepare yourself psychologically for that, that somehow that’s coddling, those people are lunatics.”
The hypocrisy is breathtaking. Words like “idiot” and “lunatic” are just the kind from which the safe space crowd thinks it should be protected.
Contempt for stereotyping is also high among their pieties. Yet Schapiro told his students, “The people who decry safe spaces do it from their segregated housing places, from their jobs without diversity — they do it from their country clubs. It just drives me nuts.”
But it’s the microagression thing that’s most interesting. Those who deny their existence are “idiots,” Schapiro says.” They “cut you to the core” and aren’t easily forgotten.
Seems to me that’s why they’re great. I like them. They piss you off. They force you to decide who you are and what you stand for.
Like that girl from Manhattan in the dorm at Northwestern who told me she could never see any reason to go to the south suburbs (where I am from). Or the union thug when I worked at Jewel who threatened me with retaliation for questioning the political contributions I was forced to make. Or the people in the Cook County Recorder of Deeds office who would shake you down to get a lien search done when I was a young lawyer. Or some of the comments and emails I get here.
I bet everybody who reads this — anybody with motivation, that is, in whatever direction — has their own stories. That’s what gets you out of bed in the morning.
It’s far worse for gays, blacks and certain others. I get that. No comparison. Nobody is defending slurs or bigotry against them. But Schapiro’s obsession with microagressions extends to everybody, and “micro” just isn’t big enough to worry about.
“If you want to play in the NFL, you gotta play hurt,” football guys say. That’s true everywhere in everything, grownups know.
Except at universities like Northwestern has become under Morton Schapiro.
UPDATE: Schapiro is paid $1.2 million per year.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.