By Grace Carr
Social media may be one of the largest reasons young people are acting more and more frequently as victims, explains an expert on the rise of victimhood around the country.
Jason Manning, co-author of “The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars,“ points to social media as a major factor in the rise of “victimhood culture” on college campuses. He argues that the constant barrage of messages and images that flood the internet along with twenty-four seven access to social media platforms has allowed grievances to go viral and has caused public complaints to increase astronomically, he explained in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation,
He also credits the rise of victimhood — which he calls a “form of moral dependence” — to the growth of university and college administrations that police offenses against cultural groups. This creates offices of diversity and inclusion that suppress students’ abilities to handle conflicts themselves, he claims.
The handling of recent moral conflicts at U.S. universities has caused the victimhood culture phenomenon to bleed into society at large, Manning explained. Students increasingly demand trigger warnings and “safe spaces,” and have become reliant on outside forces to intervene when they perceive an assault is being made on their person.
Manning explains that the 2016 election of President Donald Trump is a prime display of victimhood, in which liberals exhibited “exaggerated notions that America has become a brutal dictatorship,” in an effort to avoid taking responsibility for the election’s outcome.
Watching how students at Oberlin College in Ohio handled conflict, grievances, rumors and beliefs inspired Manning and his book’s co-author Bradly Campbell to write their book, released Feb. 15, in order to examine what’s really going on with society. Manning points to an incident at Oberlin that involved a report of a KKK member walking around campus, causing the students to fall into moral panic. It was later discovered that the alleged KKK spotting was actually a student crossing campus wearing a blanket.
However, reactions against speech codes and political correctness have also increased, Manning notes.
“Opposition to victimhood can itself undermine that very end, and can turn those opposing people into victims themselves,” he told TheDCNF, explaining that those opposing victimhood may easily come to see themselves as victims, such as conservatives who’ve begun to play victim to the pervading liberal culture.
Pushing back against so-called “male oppressors” has also produced many of the “feminist oppressors of today,” Manning stated.
Encouraging young people to take responsibility and reigning in university administrations are the best steps to preventing and reversing victimhood, according to Manning. And while far and few between, some university administrators have pushed back against a culture of victimhood and coddling.
University of Chicago’s dean of students warned incoming students in 2016 that they should attend a different school is they want “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.” The dean, however, is officially part of a network of campus administrators providing safe spaces of the University of Chicago.
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