Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 12:58 pm | Fair 71º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Diane Dimond: ‘Aggrieved’ College Protesters Need a Reality Check

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Hope yours was happy and peaceful. Now we ponder: What will future generations be thankful for?

I foresee a future in which the current college-aged crowd will matriculate into society believing everything should go exactly as they imagine. And when it doesn’t, they’ll run to the closest authority to demand that it be made so.

In their minds the world is there to make them feel completely contented at all times. They firmly believe nothing should ever make anyone feel uncomfortable or slighted in the least.

If they are a minority, they may forever be on the lookout for slights about their ethnicity. If they are female, they might find fault with every brush against their shoulder or colloquial word used to describe women. If they are anything other than heterosexual, they may bristle at every mention of opposite sex unions.

After they graduate, after there is no longer a university hierarchy to complain to about what students call the “micro-aggressions” they suffer (the “tone-deaf slights directed toward minority students,” as The New York Times defines the term), what will this generation do? How will they operate in the big, bad, nonidealistic world that is waiting out there for them?

In the future, will they demand employers give them a safe zone free from others’ opinions or that the boss bend to their every cry of unfairness? Will we need Behavior Police to placate them?

Imagine, government agencies operating like corporate human resources departments, handing out summons for thought, speech or sideways-glance offenses.

To quote Democratic President Jimmy Carter, “As you know, there are many things in life that are not fair.”

To quote me, “Get over it, kids. Concentrate on the big issues. Quit whining about every supposed unfairness. No one likes a crybaby.”

If today’s college students put as much effort into stamping out terrorism, crime, domestic violence, sexual abuse, judicial injustice and other subjects that truly have an impact on society, think what a better world they would create for themselves and for their children.

Wouldn’t that be a better legacy than removing President Woodrow Wilson’s name from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University because a century ago he held the predominate public opinion of supporting segregation? Yes, that is a student demand currently on the table at Princeton.

I wonder if any of those complaining students has studied the myriad of positive and progressive accomplishments of our 28th president.

Wouldn’t working for world peace or an improved education system be better than demanding the resignation of the junior class president at Claremont McKenna College because she was photographed posing with Halloween revelers wearing sombreros, ponchos and fake mustaches? Yep, that also sparked a recent campus demonstration. The class president was forced out.

And at Yale University, there were two Halloween-related student protests. After a completely unsubstantiated report about an overheard remark at an off-campus fraternity party that the event was for “white girls only,” more than a thousand students joined a “March of Resilience.” They demanded the dean take action against the fraternity.

Outraged Yale students also surrounded and verbally attacked professor Nicolas Christakis, whose wife wrote an email questioning the need to protect students against insensitive Halloween costumes.

“If you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended,”​ Erika Christakis wrote. “Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society.”

For that comment, enraged students are seen on video shouting vile things at the professor and demanding his resignation. They want free speech for themselves but not for others. Childish.

Get a grip, students. Controlling what others think and say is not the American way. Demanding the end to long careers because of a perceived putdown isn’t, either.

No one who matters sets out to deliberately make others feel marginalized. Marching angrily and screaming epithets doesn’t create enlightenment. And it certainly doesn’t bring anyone around to accepting your point of view.

Need suggestions on where to focus your energy and vent your frustrations with the way the world is run? Get involved in an organization that vows to do that.

Or get involved in politics. Study what the presidential candidates are saying — on both sides of the political spectrum — and call them out for the questionable, insipid and false things they say.

Better yet, run for office yourself. Trade in your whining outrage for meaningful involvement.

Diane Dimond is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case. Contact her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter: @DiDimond, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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