Dr. Helen

Why is Victimhood Thriving at College?

Ironshrink has an insightful post entitled “Why Victimhood Is Thriving at College, and What We Can Do about It” that readers might find of interest:

Trigger Warning: This ironshrink post contains reference to hash browns.Here’s a modern-day riddle. In a world where predators prey on weakness, why would anyone pretend to be gutless and fragile? Bad guys search for vulnerability in their victims. It makes no sense to paint a target on oneself by feigning weakness.

Yet that is precisely what some college students have done in recent years. They shout it from the mountaintop: We are feeble. Vulnerable. Incapable of weathering even the mildest discomfort.

For example, students at Brown University last year constructed a “safe space” when they claimed to be traumatized by a speaker who was critical of the term “rape culture.” Students were not forced to listen to the woman; she simply visited the campus to participate in a debate. Her mere presence was too much for the students to withstand, or so their actions suggested. Their safe space was equipped with coloring books, Play-Doh, and a video of frolicking puppies.

There is a celebration of frailty on college campuses.

First, allow me to dutifully state the mandatory caveat: yes, there are racists and sexists, even on campus. But I defy anyone to produce a single American student whose ambitions and good works are being blocked by campus bigots.

I’m not talking about someone who limits herself because she feels oppressed; show me one who is actually being prevented from pursuing her academic or professional goals. Just one.


I didn’t think so. American campuses do not welcome racism or sexism. But they do welcome a culture of victimhood that causes more harm to students than an army of Archie Bunker frat boys ever could.

Unfortunately, overcoming that culture will be difficult because it is much more than a lifestyle. Being offended on campus has become a profitable industry. Professors and administrators are compensated with money and position while students gain less tangible but equally compelling rewards. Hurt feelings are the coin of the realm on campuses, redeemable for…

1) a sense of purpose
2) a light workload
3) power
4) money