Is Education Curbed by Fear and Ignorance?

1.) In his recent article entitled “Willful Ignorance on Campus,” Lee McIntyre stresses the importance of being uncomfortable in a campus classroom to rid our generation of its overpowering “willful ignorance.” By this, he means that students should have their beliefs challenged by the professors and by other students so that they do not leave college believing that the only relevant side to the argument is their own. McIntyre asserts that “An education that shields students from discomfort turns colleges into country clubs that give credentials.” He is stressing the importance of challenging a students’ ideals. If a student does not have any opposition to his or her beliefs, but instead only receives praise or support, he or she will go into the work world and not be able to take into account the feelings and beliefs of other people, making them arrogant and closed-minded. Do you agree with McIntyre that being uncomfortable is a vital part of a college education? Or do you have a different view on things? Why or why not?

2.) Todd Gitlin questions the “hypersensitivity” of our generation in his article “You Are Here to be Disturbed.” He talks about bleaks topics such as rape, depression, and anxiety. Gitlin introduces and opposes the idea of “trigger warnings,” or advisement of upcoming information or visuals that call for the discretion of the viewer. He states that, “The proper way to begin understanding [the world] is to accept the unwritten contract of university education: I am here to be disturbed.” The author believes that things such as “trigger warnings” and censoring hinder the course of learning, as they shield the students from the true colors of the world. What is your stance on “trigger warnings?” Do you think that we should eliminate them in a college setting, to expose students to all of the tragedies of the world? Are there certain situations in which they should be used and others in which they can be omitted?

3.) Author Fredrik deBoer talks about fear as something that suppresses academic freedom in colleges in his article entitled “Watch What You Say.” Being a university employee himself, deBoer is frustrated with the mixed messages being put out by our society for professors and other university works alike. He states, “this advice to carefully watch one’s words comes at precisely the same time that more and more people, both within and outside academe, are calling for more public engagement by professors.” He is discontented because he believes that it is the job of the professor to speak freely, in hopes of teaching students about the real world. He believes that learning has become sheltered because professors are scared to say what they really want to say, but also scared because they feel like they must put in their own input in order to really teach. In this day, do you think that we are encouraging professors to be more public about their opinions or more quiet? Which do you think is better for the college setting?


The Blame Game: “Generation Q” vs. Older Generations

1.) At the end of his article entitled “Generation Q,” Thomas Friedman states that courage is “what activism looks like” and that “there is no substitute” (Friedman). He believes that there is no other way to fight the problems facing our generation without speaking up. He believes, “America needs a jolt of the idealism, activism and outrage (it must be in there) of Generation Q” (Friedman). Do you believe that Generation Q can provide this “jolt” of outrage being the quiet, technologically advanced generation we are? Or do you think we must put down our computers and use our voices instead?

2.) The authors of the first two articles, Friedman and Russell, seem to be playing a sort-of “blame game,” trying to figure out whose generation created the problems that our world today faces. Friedman states, “Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy didn’t change the world by asking people to join their Facebook crusades or to download their platforms,” taking a jab at the emphasis our generation puts on technology. (Friedman) Russell combats this blatantly stating, “Friedman should be shouting at his own generation” (Russell). Do you think that, instead of blaming different generations, we should try to figure out a solution together? How could we work together to do this?

3.) Ross Pomeroy and William Handke, in their article called “The Most Entitled Generation Isn’t Millennials,” express similar views to the ones displayed by Cameron Russell. They too, believe that it is not our generation that is responsible for the world’s problems, but that we do have the daunting task of fixing them. However, they state “When we do begin to regularly share our opinions in the voting booth, not just on Twitter, you can be assured that we’ll act to keep this country great” (Pomeroy and Handke). How do you think the authors of this article would feel about Thomas Friedman and his views? Would they agree that our generation is too technologically-focused? Or do you think they would agree more with Cameron Russell and his view that technology is furthering progress?

4.) Friedman believes that “Generation Q may be too quiet, too online” (Friedman). Russell states that “There is a deafening roar in cyberspace,” advocating for generation Q. Finally, Pomeroy and Handke blame America’s problems on the economy, not the younger generation. Which of these authors would you most agree with and why? Is there anything you would add to their arguments?

1.) Subsidy: A tax levied on imports and exports, the income from which was granted by parliament to the sovereign to meet particular needs; a sum of money raised by this tax

2.) Hegemony: Political, economic, or military predominance or leadership

3.) Cohort: a group of persons having a common statistical characteristic, esp. that of being born in the same year