Readers write: June 23

Real life gives no ‘trigger warnings’

College professor Rosemary Haskell’s column “Learner beware” (Opinion, June 17) extolled the dubious virtues of providing “trigger warnings” to students about course materials. For example, “Why not warn a bereaved friend about the harrowing death scenes of the hero’s mother in D.H. Lawrence’s novel, ‘Sons and Lovers?’”

I offer two reasons: First, life doesn’t come with trigger warnings. Being insulated, coddled and protected by self-appointed feelings police doesn’t make us better citizens, or really save us from angst or discomfort. Grim, unvarnished realities of life have been a call to action for many, if not most, of our outstanding leaders and humanitarians. Second, new standards of political correctness also cause new standards of outrage, offense and tort actions. The evil teacher who exposes a class to Lawrence without suitable warning becomes a possible defendant for their job — or worse.

I cringe when I think of the damage these patronizing folks want to do to free speech, free inquiry and scholarship.


If prone to upset, avoid the course

The opinion by a college professor defending “syllabus alerts” addresses a “fix” for a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s a far reach to claim that some may suffer from “literature trauma” if they read certain literature in depth. High school and college students take basic survey of literature courses as a requirement, all of which are vetted by time as significant learning experiences for young people.

For heaven’s sake, one need simply avoid taking more intensive (and elective) literature courses if one might be susceptible to psychic damage from scary literature.


Braves fans, stop ‘Tomahawk Chop’

As a recent Atlanta visitor and baseball fan, I had the pleasure of watching the Braves win a game at Turner Field on a picture-perfect evening. A pleasure, that is, until I experienced the Tomahawk Chop chant, which became more painful for me to watch and hear each time it was performed.

Somehow I had mistakenly thought it was a relic of the past; to my shock and dismay, it is not. As an outside observer, I found it not only offensive (saying it was merely insensitive does not really convey how truly objectionable it is) to our Native American citizens, but I was embarrassed — even if the many fans performing it were not — for the residents of your wonderful city who should be above such demeaning conduct.

Substitute the Atlanta “Slaves” for the Braves, and a mock cotton-picking motion in place of the chop, and you will get a better appreciation for how offensive the chop is. Come on, Atlanta and sports fans, you and your beautiful city and baseball team are better than that. Instead of modeling yourselves after the Florida State Seminoles — rationalizing that if it’s OK for them, it must be OK for you — step into the 21st century, be a “values” leader in professional sports, and model yourselves after the many communities (even if professional sports are slow to follow the course of history) that have rejected stereotypical Native American mascots, mottoes and mock chants in favor of others that do not offend those who founded our country.

Please stop the chop and give your baseball team a name more befitting your great city.