Snowflakes and Mullah Nasreddin

Mullah Nasruddin

Leeds Trinity School of Journalism recently advised its faculty to not use words whose letters were all CAPITALIZED for fear that it might cause students anxiety.

Across the country 36% of college students demand safe spaces wherein their identity group, i.e, women, gay, LGTBQ, black, latin, muslim, etc., can exist safely isolated from the threat imposed by life’s diversity of identities and opinions which could make the students “uncomfortable.”

And while I choose to live harmlessly as best as I can, nevertheless campus zealous purging of real and imagined microaggressions seems to have carried political correctness to an unrealistic extreme. Just because a person now “behaves” socially does not mean you have expunged hate. You have only driven it underground from which it will erupt with greater vigor.

CAPITAL letters, safe places,and microaggressions are three well-meaning efforts to make life safe. I suppose it’s a microaggression itself that critics of such efforts term their advocates “snowflakes” for these efforts ignore a basic fact: reality isn’t safe. Of course I favor improving the quality of life for all, but not at the expense of ignoring reality.

I am reminded of a Sufi tale that I have adapted to this topic. It’s a tale of that crazy wisdom fool, Mulla Nasreddin. One day, Nasreddin went to the bazaar, and climbed upon a crate, and yelled to the crowd, “Gather, gather around, please gather around.”

When a sizeable crowd had gathered, Nasreddin asked, “Who here would like to have a life of peace without worry?” And the crowd cheered, “yes, yes, we do”

“And who here would like a life of safety without threat?” And again the crowd cheered in response.

“And who would like a life free of aggression by others?” Excited, the crowd drew closer, “Tell us how! Tell us how now!”

Nasreddin tugged on his scraggly beard thoughtfully, nodding his head. “I thought so,” he said. “Well, if ever I should find such a thing, I will let you know.”

Life which survived asteroids and several mass extinctions does not cower. It overcomes. IMO a fulfilling life cannot be found by forcing Life’s potency into the straight jacket of our fears.

Persons ignoring the fearsome reality of life remind me of Byron Katie who notes, “When I argue with reality, I lose — but only 100% of the time.”

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1 comment to Snowflakes and Mullah Nasreddin

  • Sander Feinberg

    I agree with you in general. Humans need to be accountable for their behavior as well as their reactions to others’ behavior.

    However micro-agressions are a real, not imagined behavior often triggered by racism, mysogyny and homophobia. Educating people about unconscious bias and becoming more aware of its impact are crucial steps in healing IMO.


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