The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars
a book by Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning
(our site's book review)
The Amazon blurb says that The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars offers a framework for understanding recent moral conflicts at U.S. universities, which have bled into society at large. These are not the familiar clashes between liberals and conservatives or the religious and the secular: instead, they are clashes between a new moral culture—victimhood culture—and a more traditional culture of dignity.
Even as students increasingly demand trigger warnings and 'safe spaces,' many young people are quick to police the words and deeds of others, who in turn claim that political correctness has run amok like a Frankenstein monster
Even as students increasingly demand trigger warnings and “safe spaces,” many young people are quick to police the words and deeds of others, who in turn claim that political correctness has run amok. Interestingly, members of both camps often consider themselves victims of the other. In tracking the rise of victimhood culture, Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning help to decode an often dizzying cultural milieu, from campus riots over conservative speakers and debates around free speech to the election of Donald Trump. See The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind.
Educated professionals in America’s coastal urban centers were said to look down upon those living in what they dismissively term 'flyover country,' believing them to be little more than ignorant, racist buffoons
Campbell and Manning said that "Educated professionals in America’s coastal urban centers were said to look down upon those living in what they dismissively term 'flyover country,' believing them to be little more than ignorant, racist buffoons. Conservative columnist Rod Dreher writes that Trump supporters 'know that the academic elites despise them and their culture' (quoted in Soave 2016). They were said to be especially sick of a body of elite-enforced speech codes called 'political correctness.' Trump was seen as [wisely] standing up against political correctness and the dominance of coastal elites. In this narrative, it was the elites—particularly leftist and progressive elites—who were the real bullies, and working class whites who were the real victims. Trump, for all his flaws, was their champion—or, perhaps, their weapon."
Trump wisely stood up against the political correctness nonsense and the dominance of coastal elites, like a heroic gunfighter standing against all the liberal fanatic thieves stealing education from our young
Even though campus activists and administrators and much of the media have embraced the concept of microaggression, much of the broader public—to their credit—has fiercely resisted it. The opposition arises because microaggression complaints violate many longstanding social norms, such as those encouraging people to have thick skin, brush off slights, and charitably interpret the intentions of others. The worst aspect of this foolishness is when dogmatic know-it-all campus activists and administrators jam it down students' throats, couching it in terms of codes of behavior that must not be violated, along with safe spaces, trigger warnings, and other politically correct nonsense.
Even though campus activists and administrators and much of the media have embraced the concept of microaggression, much of the broader public—to their credit—has fiercely resisted it since it represents conditioned oversensitivity that divides us into victim groups of whining crybabies
The obvious trouble with all this PC insanity, of course, is that it is all part of a toxic pattern in colleges where education and learning has been ruined with all the little snowflakes running around policing speech to the degree that everyone is rendered mute. Few people can be concentrating on subjects if they are trying to word things in ways that no one could possibly take offense to. And since snowflakes take offense at nearly everything, the attempt is doomed from the start.
As a result, educations have become worthless, because instead of leaving college well-rounded in an academic discipline, students are well-rounded in how to communicate so incredibly inoffensively that all the content has been strained from their words—they now speak in inoffensive, halting word streams lacking serious meaning. Said students have been intellectually castrated until they sound pathetic. Parents will want to think long and hard about whether they'd like their children brainwashed in such a perverse manner, or whether they'd be wiser to send them off to vocational school so they can end up as useful citizens, not whining, oversensitive, quick-to-take-offense pansies. The trouble with snowflakes is that they are not hardy or robust—you give them a tiny bit of heat or wet them down and they melt into nothing like the witch in The Wizard of Oz.
There's a toxic pattern in colleges where education and learning has been ruined with all the little snowflakes running around policing speech to the degree that everyone is rendered mute
The trouble with snowflakes is that they are not hardy or robust—you give them a tiny bit of heat or wet them down and they melt into nothing like the witch in The Wizard of Oz
All this is to say that the whole political correctness concept was a bad idea from the start. All the identity groups find every other word we say offensive or microaggressive. This is a way to divide us into warring factions, but it is a terrible way to create citizenship, community, patriotism, or a viable society. And as the wisest critics of the toxic PC trend have been warning us, we need to create citizenship, community, patriotism, and a viable society in order to preserve any semblance of American democracy. See The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics.
The whole political correctness concept was a bad idea from the start. All the identity groups find every other word we say offensive or microaggressive, so communcation is nil. No one wants to have their speech edited
If we desire to incorporate sensitivity and compassion into communication, dump PC foolishness and instead try this: Do NOT enter a classroom with a chip on your shoulder. Instead, think of other students not as members of identity groups but instead as human beings to be treated with as much sensitivity as you can manage, but don't obsess over it, nor allow yourself to be rendered mute by an excess of caution. If you THINK something negative about the subject being discussed, raise your hand and bring up your logical point. If you FEEL bad about something someone said, wait until after class and create a quite space and tell him how you feel, without any accusation whatsoever. In other words, make it "active listening" and I statements (I feel uncomfortable when . . . ) as opposed to You statements that feel accusatory (You made me feel bad when . . . ). I-messages are often used with the intent to be assertive about self expression without putting the listener on the defensive which You statements do. I statements are also used to take ownership for one's feelings rather than implying that they are caused by another person. You statements make people defensive, so if you want the listener to hear your feeling, avoid "you."
Following PC foolishness, most students will feel gagged most of the time, which will make them frustrated, angry, insulted, humiliated and eventually depressed
Contrast this with a bunch of snowflakes policing speech rather than learning, defending their identity group as if there was a classroom war going on. The PC way is mostly win-lose, where you have victims and victimizers, accusers and defenders and deniers, with the "victim" the winner and the "victimizer" as the accused loser being humiliated or at least put down. Our active listening way is all win-win, with the asserter of feelings winning expressing feelings—which feels good, and the listener winning hearing someone's feelings—which will get him to understand and empathize—which is good. Both win. Neither lose. Simple. No PC, no snowflakes, no humiliation, no accusations, no anger, no chip on the shoulder, no defending of an identity group, and no classroom war. And education goes on.
This is what win-lose is like—it has been the main way disputes are solved throughout history; but we now know how to utilize win-win, a much better way; liberals need to learn it, since they're sure their childish, win-lose 'believe what I say or I'll make you sorry' method is the only way
Cognitive behavioral therapists treat patients by teaching them to identify and correct these cognitive distortions—things like magnifying small things so they seem big, which is what microaggressions are. Such cognitive distortions cause depression and anxiety.—Jonathan Haidt (See Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.)
Magnifying small things so they seem big, which is what microaggressions are, is a cognitive distortion therapists treat patients for
Lost in the whiny cacophony of victimhood is deference to critical thinking and respect for individuals apart from their group identities. Rather than complaining about people and looking for what they did/do wrong, our society, our democracy, and our communities—both offline and online—need people engaging with one another as real people, not pathetic whinebabies that troll others who disagree with them. This requires tolerance of the unintentional slights or expressions that make us uncomfortable, and purposeful engagement in honest dialog as if our intentions are social goodness and progress, rather than acting out our psychological problems just to reduce our tensions by taking things out on other people.
We do not need PC. We are not fragile. If we get an uncomfortable feeling, we will not crack—humans are resilient
We do not need PC. We are not fragile. If we get an uncomfortable feeling, we will not crack. Humans are resilient. If we are naive and foolish, we will sink to playing ugly PC games, making everyone feel miserable. If we are wise, we will simply utilize the active listening way, which is all win-win.
The liberals censor anything and everything that does not agree with their warped ideas, showing no respect for the idea of free speech, democracy, or diversity of opinion
As one insightful Amazon reviewer puts it, "This is an extremely important book, well written and well researched. The reality is the new 'Social Justice Warriors' are as radical, bigoted and blind to the darkness within themselves as any redneck racist from the South. These young people cannot accept diversity of political, social, or cultural opinion if it deviates from their own rigid code of morality. They take it upon themselves to harass, threaten and destroy the careers and livelihood of decent hardworking people if those people do not agree with their rigid code of what it means to be moral or human. When embracing victimology, and presuming that puts them at a moral high ground, they also isolate themselves from their fellow man and woman, and from a truly diverse perspective. It is this trend that is slowly eating away at free speech and promoting censorship. I am SO grateful that this book has been published. Now, perhaps we can see how this trend is actually undermining education, free thought and true transformative learning. This is a great and important book." (Source: This is a great and important book , Dramadog, Amazon)
The reality is the new 'Social Justice Warriors' are as radical, bigoted and blind to the darkness within themselves as any redneck racist from the South; here is an Antifa warrior, the left activist version of the KKK
Microaggressions: “the whole thing is basically a macroassault on your intelligence.”—David Harsanyi, senior editor at The Federalist and author of four books
Sociologist and communitarian Amitai Etzioni suggests that rather than microaggressions, we instead “focus on acts of aggression that are far from micro.”
University of Chicago Strikes Back Against Campus Political Correctness shows that some universities are sick of the toxic PC debacle wrecking education, so they are wisely dumping it. “Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called trigger warnings, we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own,” John Ellison, dean of students, wrote to members of the class of 2020, who will arrive next month (it was 2016). The Chicago letter echoed policies that were already in place there and at a number of other universities calling for 'the freedom to espouse and explore a wide range of ideas.'"
"The Heritage Foundation wrote on Facebook that the letter “will make you stand up and cheer.” Conservatives have been the loudest critics of campus political correctness, and hailed the Chicago statement as a victory. Mary Katharine Ham, a senior writer for The Federalist, a conservative website, wrote that it was “a sad commentary on higher education that this is considered a brave and bold move, but it is, and the University of Chicago should be applauded mightily for stating what used to be obvious.” (Source: University of Chicago Strikes Back Against Campus Political Correctness, Richard Pérez-Peña, Mitch Smith and Stephanie Saul, NY Times)
"Don't you get it? Black Lives Matter but white lives don't, because you are victimizers and blacks are victims!"
"By 78% to 22%, more students say colleges should expose students to all types of speech and viewpoints than say colleges should prohibit biased or offensive speech in the furtherance of a positive learning environment." (Source: Free Expression on Campus: A Survey of U.S. College Students and U.S. Adults, Gallup, Inc.)
Campbell and Manning said that "victimhood culture differs from both honor and dignity cultures in highlighting rather than downplaying the complainants’ victimhood. . . . Activists have tried to prevent other speakers from appearing on campuses at all, or when failing to prevent the speakers from coming, they have disrupted their talks."
April 8, 2005: David Horowitz was hit in the face with a pie Wednesday during a speech at Butler University. The attack was the third incident in the last 10 days in which a conservative speaker has been doused with food while trying to speak on a Midwestern campus. And this was not the first time the man was assaulted on campuses by spoiled PC-obsessed brats.
A SJW's idea of discussion
Campus leftists don't believe in free speech. SJWs, in a politically correct trance of self-righteousness, believe in one-sided free speech. All speech is fine, as long as it is what THEY believe. You either parrot back to them their PC beliefs or you'll be harassed, trolled, insulted, attacked with pie in the face, or physically assaulted. They have no concept of free speech, which they believe should be a right that only those that are PC SJWs should enjoy. Why their teachers are failing to show them the error of their ways is a mystery. Soon there will be no such thing as a discussion. There will only be Fox News farces where people talk over each other or even scream. No one will learn anything—they'll just experience emotional catharsis at one another's expense. It is irrelevant whether or not we agree with what the person has to say.
April 8, 2005: David Horowitz was hit in the face with a pie Wednesday during a speech at Butler University. The attack was the third incident in the last 10 days in which a conservative speaker has been doused with food while trying to speak on a Midwestern campus. SJWs are going insane and getting violent and crazy. Where exactly is these conservative speakers' "social justice"?
Thomas M. Nichols discusses the consequences of a society that continues to degrade the benefits of intellectual debate by responding to every disagreement with tantrums. See The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters.
He discusses the consequences of a society that continues to degrade the benefits of intellectual debate by responding to every disagreement with tantrums
"A recent academic article offers the most serious and sustained critique of the microaggression concept to date. Its author, Emory University psychologist Scott Lilienfeld, casts a critical eye over the concept and the evidence on which it rests. His evaluation is constructive but bracing. He recommends abandoning the term “microaggression” and placing a moratorium on training programs that aim to eradicate it. . . . However, 'microaggression' is not the best way to think about subtle prejudice. Its definition is amorphous and elastic. It fails to appreciate the ambiguity of social interaction, relies too exclusively on subjective perceptions, and too readily ascribes hostile intent. By doing so, the idea of microaggression contributes to a punitive and accusatory environment that is more likely to create backlash than social progress." (Source: The trouble with ‘microaggressions’, Nick Haslam, The Conversation)
It is time to abandon this aspect of the culture war and admit it was a rotten idea from the get-go. Like Prohibition, it sounded like a good idea but once it was tried, it exposed the fact that it was a truly terrible idea. You cannot legislate morality. It didn't work with drinking, and universities creating rules to legislate morality via ludicrous speech codes is wrong from every perspective. It is a way to violate people's First Amendment rights while pretending you are righting sexist and racist wrongs, which is silly and pretentious at best. The liberal activists are so sure their way is right, they are willing to wreck the life and career of people holding a different belief. This is sick.
Liberals will not debate their PC positions and victimization ideas, since in the back of their minds they know their ideas are warped and wrong, and since this means they will lose any debate, they are afraid to do it
How did their minds get so perversely warped? One way is social media and the filter bubble, which takes bad ideas and magnifies them until you are sure the whole world agrees with you so it must be true. Then you get adamant and self-righteous, unwilling to discuss or think about it, unwilling to compromise, unwilling to hear or tolerate other points of view, unwilling to allow speakers to speak anything that doesn't toe the party line. This is NOT liberalism, it is facism, and it is a tragedy the culture has so easily allowed this horror into its schools and media. This is ANTI-AMERICAN AND ANTI-LIBERALISM AND ANTI-DEMOCRACY. It is a disgrace to our nation!
Filter bubbles take bad ideas and magnify them until you are sure the whole world agrees with you so it must be true so you get adamant and self-righteous
Campbell and Manning have written a fine book full of good ideas and advice—we hope people will read it. Notice that there is a simple solution to the PC debacle that we ourselves have supplied. It won't bring the culture war screeching to a halt. But once it is tried and people see how much wiser and more humanistic this strategy is than the PC foolishness which 80% of the public wisely reject, it should catch on.
It is a communication protocol that is vastly superior to the ugliness of the PC debacle and it has been tried and proven all the way back to the days of Carl Rogers, the inventor of client-centered therapy, which used a type of active listening later improved upon by Thomas Gordon. He created Parent Effectiveness Training, the best parenting method ever devised. All the best Authoritative and Democratic Parenting Programs use active listening, which has been tried and proven for over half a century. The good news is that not only is active listening perfect for parenting, it is also perfect for most types of communication between adults, students, kids, etc..