Yan Ying Candy Luo
The Atlantic article “The Coddling of the American Mind” by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt describes the way in which the consequences of public speaking have increased drastically with more and more students taking the power of verbal language seriously. Students are now using their “emotions as weapons” to target the professors and peers that they dislike. One wrong word in a single sentence and a professor can be seen as “unwelcome” or “violent,” thus leading to the professor being marked as racist, sexist, threatening or unfair which then leads to a forced apology or being fired. So, what has this forced professors to do? Give trigger warnings for every little thing. And if a student feels that what the professor is about to teach “threatens or scares them,” then that professor must rethink whether or not they are going to teach that subject, even if it is a subject of importance for the other students’ educations.
Personally, I believe that our emotions should be used to express what we feel towards that subject and are not to be used to attack that subject just because we disagree with it. Living in the land of the free, professors should be able to teach as they think is right. They should not be afraid to teach something that they passionately believe in because of fear that they might lose their jobs.
With social media on the rise, people’s reputations are much more easily threatened, because once something is posted on social media, it will spread like a wildfire. This fear of our reputations plummeting down the drain results in “fortune telling” and “catastrophizing,” meaning that we assume that the worst will befall us before anything even happens. Why are we all living in this generation of fear? How can we break free? I believe that “cognitive behavior aka the thinking cure” will help us discover a world free from fear, filled with hope and positivity. The goal of cognitive behavior is “to minimize distorted thinking and to see the world more accurately.” Only when schools start teaching students what cognitive behavior is and stop teaching them that emotions can be used as weapons can we start living in a world of positivity without fear of one another.
*This article can be found on the September issue of theatlantic.com.