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Why todays college students are intolerant

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by DFWRocket, May 22, 2014.

  1. DFWRocket

    DFWRocket Member

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    Interesting article - basically says that todays college-aged people are all biased and refuse to listen to others arguments - It basically says that whereas in the past, people used to listen & read differing opinions - people of today only read blogs or watch TV that affirms their beliefs & that the rise of the internet and blogs in the early 2000's is a major contributor to this.

    I think its very true - honestly how many of the Critics of Fox News actually watch Fox News - they don't - they get their information about it from sound bytes and articles from places like Media Matters. Same thing with critics of MSNBC - they get their information about MSNBC from places like Newsbusters instead of actually watching MSNBC.

    http://news.yahoo.com/don-t-blame-college-kids-for-intolerance--blame-us-085916423.html

    America's college kids are back and resting at home this week, which is a good thing, because during the long months away they seem to have gone completely out of their minds.
    Last weekend, The New York Times' Jennifer Medina reported on the latest bizarre demand on campus: "trigger warnings" to let students know if the text they're about to study will expose them to some version of misogyny or homophobia, so they aren't unexpectedly traumatized by visions of things that can never be unseen – like, say, every novel written by a white man before 1960. That followed the public floggings of several commencement speakers whose invitations had to be rescinded, including such evildoers as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the International Monetary Fund's Christine Lagarde and Robert Birgeneau, the former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.

    All of this has provoked a torrent of eloquent condemnation from pundits and academics, who worry that our elite universities, in the words of an editorial published in Monday’s Washington Post, are being "impoverished by intolerance." Which is a reasonable concern, except that it misses the point. It's not the students' fault that they expect to laze around in a world of ideological comfort. It's totally ours.

    There's nothing new about the basic tension between speech and sensitivity on campus. When I was at Tufts in the late '80s, at the height of what we called political correctness, we argued fiercely about whether the military belonged on campus or whether certain faculty members were denied tenure because of their politics. But, by and large, we were primed to have the debate, not chill it.

    We'd grown up with TV news that tried to get at complicated issues (Ted Koppel's "Nightline" was the single most influential news program of the era) and op-ed pages that crackled with competing arguments. I remember meeting William Colby, the former CIA director, at a symposium. A lot of us were disgusted by the role he had played in Vietnam, but it never occurred to us that he shouldn't speak or that his beliefs weren't at least defensible.

    It was reasonable to hope, with the sudden explosion of what we called cyberspace a decade or so later, that this kind of exchange would become more commonplace and more enlightening, rather than less so. Only that's not what happened. Almost from the moment the first iteration of political blogs appeared, not long after the 2000 presidential election that exposed a deep cultural rift in America, like-minded activists began to wall themselves off from any version of reality they didn't like. They set about building ideological silos in the space where virtual town squares might have thrived.

    Our political leaders and our media might have recognized the danger here and done their traditional duty, which was to ignore all the noise, and focus instead on explaining the complex realities of a country in social and technological transition. With some notable exceptions, that didn't happen, either. Instead, politics in the past 10 years has become a perennial contest of the already converted, a constant pursuit on either side of "base strategies" and data sets that tell you exactly which voters you need to turn out in order to get and hold power.

    Those of us who cover and analyze the news – whose central purpose it is to challenge our own preconceptions about the world, and yours – haven't really performed much better, and I'm not just talking about the partisan rehashing on Fox News and MSNBC. Many of our most respected columnists and academics, too, occupy the predictable extremes, where they can always rely on the clicks of a comforted audience. They use a smokescreen of empiricism to prove to you, over and over again and without fail, that everything you already believe is borne out by some selective poll or study.

    What's happened is that we've effectively left behind the Age of Persuasion and ushered in the Age of Confirmation. It sometimes seems the whole world exists to re-affirm our conceptions of it; you can get through days, even weeks, without being at all discomfited, if you know which sites to visit and which channels to watch.

    This isn't confined to politics. We target self-help books and superhero movies at consumers whose habits we know, rather than do the hard work of trying to convince anyone to broaden their minds. (Did you like Sheryl Sandberg's book? Then you'll love Arianna Huffington's version, which is pretty much the same thing, right down to the catchphrase title and cover photo.) Log on to Amazon.com, the supermall of the confirmation culture, and you will instantly be introduced to all of the books, movies and songs that are exactly like all the others you've purchased recently.

    We have more options and access to information than any society in human history, and less inclination to avail ourselves of it. Maybe we're just overwhelmed.

    So tell me this: What exactly did we think the effect of all this was going to be on the generation after ours? Today's college senior was born around 1992 and developed a political awareness just as blogs and social media were bursting into the American consciousness. Did we really expect these kids to emerge from the moment with a sense of intellectual adventurism? Were they supposed to just know that the entire point of literature is to discomfort you with no warning at all?


    Did we think the characteristic that F. Scott Fitzgerald cited as the hallmark of first-rate intelligence – "the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and retain the ability to function" – didn't have to be taught by example?

    Here's the good news. First, while the loudest students have been grabbing the attention lately, anyone who spends any time on campus these days (or who reads some of the better polling of the so-called millennial generation) can tell you that a lot of younger Americans appreciate that something is wrong with the way we talk to each other, or don't. They're distrustful of old political and media institutions and eager to build a more tolerant, less fragmented society than their parents have to this point. That's to their credit.

    Second, it's worth remembering that for all the missed opportunity around us, we're still in the infancy of the Internet culture, a moment roughly analogous to where television was in 1960. Our instinct has been to retreat into safe communities online that reinforce our convictions and banish all doubt. But media evolves, and political dialogue with it, and I'm betting we will figure out how to hear alternate (and even odious) worldviews without need for a trigger warning.

    To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr., the arc of technology is long, and it bends toward enlightenment
     
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  2. Nook

    Nook Member

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    People always have been and always will be intolerant..... it has just morphed...

    As far as kids today? THIN SKINNED....
     
  3. g1184

    g1184 Member

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    If I agree with you, am I affirming the article and perpetuating the problem? Would that create an echo chamber, or would this thread still be what the article considers a legitimate forum of ideas?

    Who's going to teach these kids about the value of debating philosophy before they get to college? The overworked dual income parents? The underpaid and frazzled teachers? Cash strapped school districts that can barely pass the already pretty low american education standards?

    The arts and humanities are for the rich, but college is for everybody. Does that create a problem?

    Are kids supposed to discover the value of genuinely keeping an open mind (not just lip service) on their own, or will they do what kids do and identify differences and create cliques and silos of group think? Will they imitate what they see at home and on TV, and shout down and dismiss any opposing view? Which one did you do when you were a teenager?

    OR alternatively, do the kids in the article have good examples and influences? Is this movement a referendum on the validity of the ideas that the rejected commencement speakers represent? Is choosing controversial speakers for a commencement speech (rather than a voluntary mid-semester lecture in some lecture hall) even an appropriate idea?

    If the government knocked on your door and said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei are going to walk into your living room and lecture you with their ideas for 45 minutes, would you listen to what they have to say, or reject the proposal entirely?

    This is a cool existential topic. I don't have kids yet, but when I do, I wonder how I can teach them to think for themselves without imparting preconceived notions and biases.

    Here's another article about the same topic:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/who-s-afraid-of-christine-lagarde-1.2648869

     
  4. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    increased communication - Once upon a time. . you left home and YOU LEFT HOME
    but now home is with you more than ever
    via internet/phone/etc

    Rocket River
     
  5. okierock

    okierock Contributing Member

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    Good read^^
     
  6. val_modus

    val_modus Member

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    My generation of students has become the HEADLINE GENERATION. Basing their beliefs off of biased and misleading headlines, while also getting the 2 minute news coverage of the subject from the likes of MSNBC or FOX News, just a shame... But can you blame them? How do we have time to educate ourselfs about the government when we're busy paying off our debts, working hard to earn that undergrad or grad degree, and socializing to stay in with the norm?
     
  7. DwightHoward13

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    The bylaws and handbooks of colleges and universities are very vague in their descriptions of "discrimination" and "bullying," allowing anyone to claim almost any activity as such. Even if the college is promoting a seemingly noble cause, it is resulting in massive overkill. Trying to stop people in the name of tolerance is resulting in suppression that is ironically intolerant. The tolerance arguments are often supported and created by small groups on campuses looking to promote their own agenda. It does not help that students buy into these arguments without checking any facts or details.
     
  8. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Precious snowflakes
     
  9. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

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    I'm intolerant of intolerance. Which makes me intolerant. Everyone is intolerant.
    But really times are changing. If you can't pack your story into a condensed paragraph or a short headline then you will not gets views or ratings.
    Fault of our generation? Stick any other generation in our place and you'd see the same results.

    I think political activism in any form trumps complete and total apathy.
     
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  10. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    whenever I see topics like this anchoring to some nostalgic and always rosy view of the past:

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    Or as Kundera put it:

    “In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.”
     
  12. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    Eh, kids were dumb when I was in college too. Not sure why people always want to say the current crop is different somehow.
     
  13. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

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    Its a conservative writer, I'm not surprised.
     
  14. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave Contributing Member

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    Same old same old, only exacerbated by a flood of less biased "news" sources. Worse news and lots of it. Pick and choose your favorite. Oh, and get off his lawn.
     
  15. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    Not really sure what the point of this article is - this effect has been known about/predicted for about 20 years now.

    Master of the obvious graphic.
     

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