Two sociology professors have published a new book on how victimhood culture — as evidenced by safe spaces, speech restrictions, and “microaggression” hype — is causing problems for students, faculty, and staff alike.
Historically, students learned to “hold their head up high” in response to insult, the book argues. But now, students learn to interpret everything from insults to compliments through the lens of microaggression theory. Protests, conflict, and safe spaces ensue. The Rise of Victimhood Culture — authored by Bradley Campbell, a professor at California State University, Los Angeles, and Jason Manning, who teaches at West Virginia University — presents the harrowing details of what happened, and what’s next.
In an interview with PJ Media, Manning warns that victimhood culture “will get worse before it gets better.” He says that elite campus culture moves upstream into the workplace, yet it also moves downstream towards youth, and everyone should be concerned. While professors often get blamed for teaching students victimhood culture, this isn’t always the case, argues Manning. In fact, many freshmen arrive with a fully developed understanding of “social justice,” due in part to its creep into TV and internet culture.
“It’s also being taught to younger and younger children in high schools and elementary schools,” Manning pointed out, citing how a high school recently cancelled its production of the Hunchback of Notre Dame because a white student landed the lead role.
This isn’t without consequence, warns Manning. As students increasingly fight wrongthink with protests and petitions, “more professors will be demonized for being insufficiently woke.”
“In some of the big cases we’ve seen — at Yale, at Evergreen — the administration seemed to throw the faculty under the bus and side with the shrieking activists. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that administrators elsewhere will have better judgment,” he added.
Case in point: just last week, PJ Media reported the case of Eric Triffin, who since 1986 has taught public health at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). Despite successfully teaching for 30-plus years without complaint, Triffin was suspended after he accidently said the n-word in class while singing a song a student was playing for the class.
“I just thought it was a positive song and that the connotation … was celebratory,” Triffin told PJ Media. “And I was just singing along … and in the moment thought of it relating to me and my biracial family.”
Because Triffin is an adjunct, he has no long-term contract with SCSU. As of press time, he remains on suspension pending the school’s investigation into his case.
Not only does Manning think incidents like this will continue, but he worries that college graduates will struggle to deal with adulthood.
“[A]s certain facts become taboo, or matters of fact and method are abandoned in favor of teaching ideology, college graduates will have increasingly inaccurate pictures of reality,” Manning predicted. “The process will actually be making people less wise. For some people this is already the case.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen