An artist painted over an image of a gun shooting out flowers — a classic anti-violence symbol — that had been part of a pro-peace mural she had painted at Pitzer College (part of the Claremont University Consortium) because one student claimed he found it “triggering” and it reminded him of police brutality.
“It’s truly in bad taste to have a large depiction of a gun in a dorm space — especially when students of color also reside there,” the student, Gregory Ochiagha, said in a campus e-mail, according to the Claremont Independent.
“My Black Mental and Emotional Health Matters. I shouldn’t be reminded every time I leave my dorm room of how easy my life can be taken away, or how many Black lives have been taken away because of police brutality. This is emotionally triggering for very obvious reasons. And if you want to belittle or invalidate by [sic] black experience, I live in Atherton, come thru, let’s have that idiotic conversation.”
This whole thing certainly is “idiotic,” but not in the way that Ochiagha thinks. First of all, what he’s essentially saying is that even though the artwork — which had been painted by fellow student Selena Spier — is clearly a statement against gun violence, it’s still not okay because that statement against gun violence reminds him that gun violence exists and that’s “triggering.”
But why would he? After all, he got what he wanted — the image has been mostly covered due to his whining. Now, you may say that Spier can do whatever she wants with her artwork, and that it’s not like the school forced her to paint over it, and while all of that is true, that’s not really the point. The unspoken rule on too many college campuses is that the offended person — even if it is just one person — is always automatically right, even when he or she is logically wrong. For example: Just a few weeks ago, a sorority at Dartmouth College canceled its Kentucky Derby–themed party because some students said it reminded them of “pre-war southern culture,” and the sorority’s social chair stated that if “anyone” on campus was offended by the theme, then they “obviously” shouldn’t use it. Never mind, of course, the fact that the first Kentucky Derby took place in May of 1875 — that is, a full ten years after the Civil War had ended. No, pay no mind to that at all!After all, who needs to know the facts about silly little things as the Civil and Vietnam Wars? Facts are, like, so overrated! I used to think that college was about actually about learning stuff — but now I see how foolish I’d been to ever have thought that.
Sure, these kids may be absolutely, unequivocally wrong, but it would be even more wrong to correct them. We’re definitely better off teaching them that feelings are more important than facts, and that if people ever dare to tell you your facts are wrong, all you have to do is whine and call him racist. In doing so, said person will have to abandon reality and blindly accept whatever illusion you’ve decided to replace it with inside your own misguided head.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.