Trigger Warning – The following statements and questions are considered microaggressions on some college and university campuses: “America is the land of opportunity. Where are you from? I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”
The fight over free speech exploded into the spotlight last year when the University of California, Berkeley, issued a list of phrases students and faculty should avoid using because they were considered racist and sexist. Terms like trigger warning and microaggression are now part of the discussion and the attempt to stop the discussion according to Greg Lukianoff, the CEO of FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education).
Lukianoff is an attorney and author. His books include Freedom From Speech and Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. FIRE defends students and faculty – liberal and conservative – who have been silenced and sanctioned for speaking.
Lukianoff says, “The public’s appetite for punishing attempts at candor gone wrong, drunken rants or even private statements made in anger or frustration seems to be growing at an alarming rate.” In this episode of Talkenomics he warns that college administrators, “have been able to convince well-meaning students to accept outright censorship by creating the impression that freedom of speech is somehow the enemy of social progress.” Lukianoff worries the desire to shut down anyone who disagrees with a position, whether popular or not, will eventually lead freedom loving Americans to “…stop demanding freedom of speech and start demanding freedom from speech.”