Things I Would Never Have Believed When I Was Young -- College Students Taking Offense Like Southern Baptists

I grew up in the Deep South (in Houston -- for outsiders, Texas acts like the South when one is east of I-35 and then is more like the West).  Though my immediate family was fairly open-minded, I was surround by a scolding Southern Baptist culture that seemed deeply offended by everything -- dancing, drugs, drinking, youth behavior, movies, TV, games -- you name it.  I remember visiting aunts and uncles and cousins who were in a perpetual state of being offended.  And it carried over into the whole political culture of the place -- it seemed there was always some debate about book or textbook passage that needed to be banned to save the delicate eyes and impressionable brains of the children.

Going to college in the Ivy League was a breath of fresh air.  I never cottoned much to the authoritarian command and control favored by many at college, but I loved the liberal atmosphere of tolerance for most any speech or behavior.

Little would I have believed it, but college students today now sound exactly like my Southern Baptist aunt.  They are humorless and scolding and offended by virtually everything.  Many of the same pieces of literature those good Texas Baptists were trying to censor from school curricula in my day because they conflicted with religious doctrine are now being censored by good campus Progressives because they might be triggering.   What a bizarre turn of events.

Ian McEwan had a nice line in his graduation speech at Dickinson:  "“being offended is not to be confused with a state of grace — it’s the occasional price we all pay for living in an open society.”


  1. kidmugsy:

    Well, no one will hire McEwan again.

  2. mogden:

    Meet the New Puritans.

  3. CT_Yankee:

    California professors instructed not to say ‘America is the land of opportunity' and other micro-aggressions now not forbidden, but will still land you in front of the Star Chamber. Worst of the worst might be “I believe the most qualified person should get the job", because that might lead to, you know, people being effective at what they were hired to do. In any case, everything you say offends someone, even if it is just to plead the 5th and remain silent. Seriously, read it and weap.

  4. Gteichrow:

    Is this "Triggering" thing for real? I love the New Puritans line. I wish they'd adopt some distinctive clothing (or I suppose tattoo nowadays) so we could tell them from afar.

  5. MNHawk:

    They said if I voted for Romney, blue hairs would take over society. They were right.

  6. HenryBowman419:

    Never thought of Houston as the Deep South—it's in Texas, after all.

  7. Dan Wendlick:

    Texas culturally splits into three pieces. The Gulf Coast (and I'd place the line further East than I-35) is deep south. The remaining part of the state splits North-South about at Dallas, with the area south of the line being part of the Southwest, and the area to the north of the line being Great Plains.

  8. Gil G:

    Not being offended ever means having no standards.

  9. Gabe Atthouse:

    I can some 20 somethings rolling their eyes at McEwan, "Just another white privileged male trying to preach the social hegemony to me."

  10. Joe Mama:

    Over time, many people have disapproved of me. I was always left wondering, why did they think *their* approval was of the slightest importance to me? It was presuming of them to think their opinion mattered to anybody other than themselves.