On Microaggression, Safe Spaces, and Trigger Warnings: The Luxury of Running Out of Problems


You might think that when today’s college students call for “safe spaces”, “trigger warnings”, and protection from “microaggressions”, that we’ve crossed a kind of cultural threshold and entered new territory for what counts as social justice. The demands of today’s college students, however, have a longer pedigree than you might think. For example, in 1789, at Princeton University (then, College of New Jersey), student body president, William Henry Bancroft, organized a student protest calling for “the headmasters and chancellors to acknowledge summarily the special appanage enjoyed by the white man and, in recognition of his acts of oppression, to grant the creation of impregnable safe havens for any antagonized descendants of those who suffered heinous injustice under the heavy hand of European colonization.” Sound familiar? Continue reading