University students in Massachusetts who were upset by an image of a Confederate flag sticker on another student’s laptop were offered counseling services at Framingham State University.
The offer came after the university’s “chief diversity and inclusion officer,” Sean Huddleston, described the display of the small Confederate flag sticker as a “bias incident.”
According to Metrowest Daily News, students filed two “bias reports” within the past month as a result of a student displaying the flag in some way. The most recent bias incident – reported on November 19 – was a report of a student having seen a Confederate flag sticker on another student’s laptop.
“Many see the Confederate flag as an inflammatory symbol of oppression and constant reminder of a dark period in the history of the United States in which slavery was a legal,” Huddleston continued, while “Others may simply view this flag as a symbol of shared southern heritage and in memory of the Civil War.”
One has to wonder: What would “counseling services” designed to address the supposed trauma of seeing the Confederate flag involve?
Counselors and therapists usually see their jobs as helping people become more rational, balanced or objective in their viewpoints.
Therapists also help people who are the victims of real crimes or emergencies – such as rape, sexual abuse, theft, assault or attempted murder – vent and process their feelings about the awful event. The same goes for prolonged traumas such as Nazi Germany, the Vietnam War, Iraq-Afghanistan or other combat experience.
Therapists are supposed to be nonjudgmental. And the starting point for any psychotherapy would be the person’s feelings, for sure.
But how could any therapist worth his or her professional salt be expected to treat seeing a Confederate flag sticker on a fellow student’s laptop as the psychological equivalent of rape, incest, torture or war? Could a therapist that delusional be of any help to you?
It seems to me like these referrals for counseling at some universities have more to do with the needs and feelings of certain professors and campus administrators than the well-being of actual students.
We have politically correct university personnel who wish to be seen as so progressive, so anti-racist and so conspicuously compassionate that they make it known how concerned they are about the feelings of students forced to live in a world where not everyone shares their opinion or attitude about everything.
I want to hear from the actual students who feel traumatized to the point of needing psychotherapeutic consultation in order to cope with having seen a Confederate flag. I’d also like to explore with them how they expect to cope in a world where not everyone will always agree with them about politics, race or anything.
The Confederate flag can actually be associated with positive as well as negative things. Yes, the flag was a symbol of a society based on legalized slavery and coercively imposed racism. But the flag is also a reminder that such a society eventually collapsed. The Confederacy lost the Civil War. The slave-dependent Southern economy could not hold a candle to the industrializing, economically free North. The slaves were freed after the Union president took a principled stand against evil and injustice. While the existence of slavery, particularly in the United States, was an inexcusable monstrosity, it also says something that the United States ultimately banished it. We were the first society in history to do so.
But would a therapist be allowed to approach the subject this way at Framingham State University? Especially in a way that made the United States look good? It seems unlikely, at least if the therapist wished to keep his or her job. These referrals and incidents have less to do with mental health and more to do with an obsessive, distorted and twisted need to turn young adults into victim mentalities, from a specific, one-sided political point-of-view.
The Confederate flag is said to be “inflammatory” and therefore a risk factor in the mental health of young students at college.
I looked up “inflammatory” at the Oxford online dictionary. The definition is, “…speech or writing arousing or intended to arouse angry or violent feelings.”
I don’t understand how a Confederate flag could be considered “inflammatory” by this definition. I can see how a Confederate flag might arouse any number of emotions; not all of them positive. Like many people, I oppose slavery and I don’t believe the Confederate side should have won in the U.S. Civil War. But it does not make me angry to see the flag. Perhaps it does arouse anger in some, but I see no reason why it necessarily must arouse anger – to say nothing of violence – in any or most who see it.
In fact, I become much more angry and upset at the idea of college students being exploited for political reasons and taught to view themselves as weak, helpless victims unable even to manage or control their reactions to a political symbol with little or no relevance to the present.
I suspect that these actions at Framingham State University have less to do with concern for students’ emotions than they are a back door attempt to outlaw politically incorrect or undesirable symbols on campuses. They’re looking for mental health professionals to validate their claims. “Why of course the mere sight of a Confederate flag arouses anger and violence in students; how can anyone be expected to maintain mental stability and reality orientation in the midst of such horrific assaults on their psyches?”
Communists, Nazis and all the petty little dictators in the world, including those who dominate the humanities departments of most college campuses, often seek mental health professionals and psychiatrists to advance their political agenda. Many of them fall for it; not this one.
This idea that thoughts, images or “triggers” can cause emotional reactions in people over which they have supposedly no control is a convenient way to expand censorship, not only on campuses but in the wider society.
Watch for the use of the term “inflammatory” in future public debates over censorship laws in America. Censorship can happen here, even in America, especially if the majority of us continue to act indifferently to our Constitutional rights.
College campuses are setting the table for censorship by trying to get across the idea that we cannot control our emotional reactions, and that government must step in to protect us from our own feelings of discomfort.
Institutions of higher learning should be turning out fierce, strong and objective thinkers unafraid of dissension. Instead, colleges like Framingham University invite mental collapse by fostering the development of students who are afraid of their own (or another’s) intellectual shadow.
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