I know the author of this piece name-checks trigger warnings, but there is no relevance that I can see. TWs are not the same thing as labeling a student (or a professor’s) comments offensive — in fact, it has nothing to do with offensiveness. I’m not “offended” by rape acknowledgement. It doesn’t go against my sensibilities in some way I want to silence. I am glad rape is acknowledged and confronted and written about. It’s just that when it is, my body goes into alarm mode because I have traumatic firsthand experience with it. A lot of triggers have nothing to do with “offensiveness”.

Also, I completely disagree with the author’s thesis that students’ remarks should never be labeled offensive and that all viewpoints should be able to be shared with equanimity. It’s okay that many students blanch at comments that dehumanize whole groups of people. Pillorying of students who make such comments shouldn’t be allowed. But being criticized for making hateful comments is part and parcel of being in the marketplace of ideas that anti-TW writers claim to desire so badly.

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