Posted in 365 Days of Blogging

Day 107: Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces

I really don’t get all of the backlash against trigger warnings. Trigger warnings are simply notifications (warnings) that sensitive (triggering) topics may be discussed. They don’t ban certain topics from being talked about. They simply say “hey, just so you know, we’re gonna be talking about this thing.” They allow people to decide if they are willing and/or able to contribute to the conversation that will be had.

If you’re a college professor, putting trigger warnings in your syllabus is a good idea. You let your students know the grading scale, when papers are due, what the papers are about, and put other things like that in the syllabus, right? Why not let them know what topics you plan to cover in discussions and/or reading? Make sure your students are fully aware and prepared. If anything, you’ll find that your students are better prepared and more engaged in discussions when they know what’s coming.

Trigger warnings are not controversial things. They’re not that big of a deal. Hell, you see their equivalent in everyday life all the time. MPAA rating descriptions, ESRB content descriptors, even the little label on Chick-fil-A foods that tells you it was cooked in peanut oil. These don’t ban you from watching movies, playing games, or eating food. It just lets you know what’s contained in them so you can make an informed decision on what you want to watch, play, or eat.

Safe spaces are the same. They give marginalized people a small break from the mess they have to deal with daily. It’s a form of stress relief. Don’t you have a certain thing that you do that relaxes you and makes you feel safe and calm? That’s what safe spaces are to marginalized people. We’re able to freely discuss issues that concern us without the need to walk on eggshells.

Put safe spaces for marginalized groups on campus and you’ll end up with a more relaxed and focused student body. Pair that with trigger warnings in syllabi and I’m sure you’ll have a more engaged students too. That’s not a bad thing. I don’t get why people are so against it. You complain about students not doing well? Give them the tools they need to do better.

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I'm a simple single mom living a complicated life.

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