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The Coddling of the American Mind

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The Coddling of the American Mind

The Atlantic,

5 min read
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“Microaggressions” and “trigger warnings” are symptoms of a new era of anxiety on college campuses.

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  • Innovative


Traditionally heralded as a place to think, grow and learn, academia today increasingly faces accusations of “microaggresions.” And professors find themselves compelled to give students “trigger warnings,” for fear that certain topics will bring up negative feelings. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and CEO Greg Lukianoff delve into the growing phenomenon wherein student politics is clamping down on free speech and robbing young people of the opportunity to learn how to cope with opinions different from their own. getAbstract recommends this intriguing analysis to all university staff and students, as well as parents about to send their children off to college.


The term “microaggressions” – minor actions or words that seem innocent at first, but which students may interpret as a “kind of violence” – is quickly becoming part of standard university vernacular in the United States. Comments such as asking an Asian person, “Where were you born?” qualify as microagressions, because they imply that someone “is not a real American.” Some professors provide students with “trigger warnings” – alerts that certain content could “cause a strong emotional response.” Harvard law students even asked professors not to teach rape law because it...

About the Authors

Greg Lukianoff is CEO of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, PhD, is an ethical leadership professor at NYU-Stern School of Business.

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