- Aug 19, 2008
I think their biggest mistake was using language that sounded so much like the triggered/snowflake/safe space kind of language that's so exaggerated these days, specifically "retraumatized" and the idea that looking people up on a phone book would be bizarre (which, come to think of it, I can even see why these days - when was the last time you looked up somebody's phone number that wasn't a service provider?")Indeed.
I have also offered that it is naïve, not to mention wrong-headed, to declare, as many of our student activists have, that The Daily staff and other student journalists had somehow violated the personal space of the protestors by reporting on the proceedings, which were conducted in the open and were designed, ostensibly, to garner attention.
This tempest in the teapot is turning out to be a very good education for all those involved.
And to the swarm of alums and journalists who are outraged about The Daily editorial and have been equally rancorous in their condemnation of our students on social media, I say, give the young people a break. I know you feel that you were made of sterner stuff and would have the fortitude and courage of your conviction to fend off the campus critics. But you are not living with them through this firestorm, facing the brutal onslaught of venom and hostility that has been directed their way on weaponized social media. Don’t make judgments about them or their mettle until you’ve walked in their shoes. What they need at this moment is our support and the encouragement to stay the course.
I was really bothered by the oped piece when I first read it last night. I am not exaggerating: my chest was tight. I was convinced that my alma mater was going to intellectual hell, that NU journalism faculty had bred this situation by indulging in political correctness.
I think differently about this situation now. I think the editorial staff certainly made a mistake, but it's understandable given what I have learned about the context. They are getting hammered on both sides. In the long run, they should learn a lot from this. As far as the protesters are concerned, I hope they come to see that their bullying of Daily and short-term success in suppressing being held accountable for their own choices and actions is not going to fly in the real world.
Definite good learning experience, including for those of us to jumped to conclusions.