Saturday, July 15, 2017 by Jayson Veley
If you are currently attending or planning to attend Stanford University, you better think twice before calling a homework assignment easy – you just might hurt the feelings of your fellow classmates.
Such is the argument made by Professor Ruth Starkman, who wrote in the Huffington Post that saying you found a particular homework assignment easy could offend those who found it to be more challenging.
“Had you been listening, you might have heard others describe your comment as a ‘microaggression,’ a term coined in 1970 by Professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Chester M. Pierce,” Starkman explained. (Related: University of North Carolina says complimenting a woman’s shoes is a microaggression.) He goes on to argue that explaining why you found a homework assignment easy could be “a form of bragging.”
“Not everyone went to your high school, had your fortunate circumstances, or such a dazzling delivery room arrival, and even if they did, they might still be suffering because of the genuine challenges of the assignments,” the Stanford professor wrote.
Then, just like your typical left wing democrat, Starkman found a way to work race into his argument, explaining, “People of color and first-gens are moving faster and working harder than most students.” As such, he advised students to not “suck down all the air in the room [by talking about how easy an assignment is], make space for others.”
As absurd and nonsensical as Professor Starkman’s argument is, it stems from a mentality that is actually quite common among modern day progressives. Whether its their relentless attacks on the rich who the left claims are hoarding all of the nation’s wealth, their adamant support for affirmative action programs, or the shaming of those who have an easier time with homework assignments, the left is always trying to tear down the successful. The bar is constantly being lowered when it should be raised, and as a result, people are essentially encouraged to be victims.
Telling students that it’s wrong to say that a homework assignment was easy is the exact opposite of what this professor should be doing. If a student says that they aren’t finding the homework challenging, that should be something that is celebrated, and other students should be encouraged to study enough so that they too can get to a point where they also don’t think the homework is challenging. This would be an example of raising the bar and lifting the students up; what Professor Starkman is doing is lowering the bar and dragging the smarter students down.
This is also a perfect example of how educators across the country are metaphorically wrapping students up in layers upon layers of bubble wrap. Between lectures on microagressions, mandatory diversity training courses, and the growing popularity of safe spaces, colleges and universities are essentially building a large cushion around the upcoming generation to protect them from anything that could even be considered critical or offensive.
Young people are being taught that they have a right to go through life without ever being challenged, whether that “challenge” comes in the form of another student finding a homework assignment easier than you did, conservative speakers visiting college campuses, or the formation of political organizations that stand for things most other students find controversial.
The goal of American educators should be to get young people prepared for “the real world,” as it’s commonly referred to in academia. This includes useful advice regarding the realities of life after college, including the reality that you’re not always going to be the smartest and you’re not always going to be right. Professors like Professor Starkman are doing the exact opposite of this, thus putting students at a significant disadvantage as they move into adulthood.