Emory students claim victimization

Wil Gradle

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By now, I’m sure that many of you have heard about the incident at Emory University in which “Trump 2016” was chalked onto various locations around the campus and a few dozen students launched a protest claiming to feel victimized by the chalkings. While we can concern ourselves with the merits of Donald Trump’s campaign, of which I believe there to be none, we have to take time to discuss the greater issue here, this seemingly growing and troublesome trend amongst our generation to confuse disagreement and sincere offense.

 Maybe it’s because we are the product of the participatory award generation. Maybe it’s because we’ve been too sheltered from dissenting opinions and viewpoints. Maybe it’s because the media has taught us to believe that if we disagree with even a portion of a candidate’s platform, we have to entirely rebuke the candidate’s supporters. Whatever caused this phenomenon, we have got to stop it in its tracks. The students at Emory, who were so sincerely hurt by the simple phrase “Trump 2016,” perfectly illustrate why millennials have been repeatedly called the “generation of victims.”

 I get it; there is a certain level of power and protection if you can prove yourself to be a victim in the eyes of society. Being a socially responsible member in a community mandates us to help the truly sick, the cyclically poor and the unjustly abused. A wrinkle in this otherwise virtuous system is scarcity. When these marginalized groups gain this added level of power and protection, their disparity is bridged and they are on the same plane as society. This is the whole point of social justice. Unfortunately, there are those who seek out a state of victimization in order to further their own agenda. That’s what happened at Emory.

 Any reasonable person can agree that there is nothing inherently offensive in the phrase “Trump 2016.” The students at Emory disagreed with Trump’s “policies” (I use quotes because I don’t think it’s fair to call them legitimate policies) and ideology and sought to damage his ability to campaign by becoming “victims.”

 Surely, if they could seek the power and protection of society, they’d be able to shut down the “Republican” (I use quotes for the same reason as before). What the students don’t realize is that they have robbed true victims of society’s scarce resources, the most important of which are time and attention.

 Think about it. News anchors, political pundits, bloggers and everyday citizens from across the world are spending their time thinking, talking and typing about these few dozen students instead of problems that are truly plaguing society. The opportunity cost of this incident and incidents like it are borne solely by those who can’t afford it, the legitimately marginalized. That’s why this matters. That’s why the famous Jewish proverb, “I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders,” matters. When we distract the attention of society with innocuous nothings, we further inflict the wounds of the genuinely victimized.

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