Bradley Campbell is a sociologist whose research focuses on moral conflict — clashes of right and wrong and how they are handled. His work primarily looked at genocide arising from large-scale interethnic conflicts , but recently he has begun to examine smaller-scale conflicts on modern college campuses. Since about 2013 he has studied the phenomena of micro aggression complaints, calls for trigger warnings and safe spaces. He views this new era as, “Manifestations of ongoing moral change and the clash of different moral ideals.” He addresses these topics in his book, “The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Micro aggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars.”
How did Bradley shift from macro aggression and genocide around the world to micro aggression on college campuses? He was always interested in answering, “Why do people have conflict? And what causes someone to handle that conflict in a particular way?” How are conflicts handled with the legal system? When someone has a grievance, do they avoid them? So what makes someone choose violence over law or avoidance?
With every generation, comes a different way of being taught how to handle conflict. Where one generation may have been taught to have thicker skin and not take things so seriously, today’s kids have been taught to take offense to every micro insult that might make them feel uneasy. Where there is more equality and in places that value diversity, there tends to be more sensitivity to insults – therefore lots of micro insults tend to add up to big offenses.
Are college campuses a place that should display robust conversation? Or should they be a place where free speech is censored? Bradley argues that, if anything, college campuses should encourage free speech. Unfortunately, words are being viewed as literally violent and should be censored. Michael and Bradley end the conversation on where college students stand on Trump and politics today.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
- Hate crimes
- Micro aggression
- Macro aggression
- Victim culture
- Trigger warnings
- Trust in government
- Safe spaces
- Free speech