By Daniel DeMarco |Copy Editor|
Critical thinking is a foundational element of academic education, and in providing that, our colleges are failing us.
College is supposed to be a place for the sharing of ideas and open discussion and debate in which any view is open for challenge or questioning.
If any place, it should be in our establishments of higher education that issues and various topics are encouraged to be talked about intelligently and without barriers of censorship or fear of trespassing upon what is deemed politically correct.
Do not mistake me, there is plenty of encouragement to partake in discussion and ask questions, but you better make sure they’re the “right” questions and discussions.
Do not dare to stagger away from the politically correct, or what may be considered insensitive to some group of people based on their gender, race, religion, and culture—this is the clear message that is established by the college community, authorities and colleagues alike.
This in no way resembles an environment which thrives on, let alone supports, critical thinking. Instead, our colleges have nurtured an environment of hypersensitivity, self-righteousness, and mob mentality.
It’s: “Shut up, I want to speak, and do not say anything I don’t agree with.”
Perhaps if our professors were able to attempt to enlighten us students and provide a strong education, there could be a way to avert this unfortunate fate—but no.
In my experience, most often professors are just as much a part of the problem. They preach the same rhetoric that confines so many minds onto a narrow mentality of thought.
The focus seems clearly to be teaching students what to think.
It’s not always intentional; some are just unwilling to rock the boat—usually for fear of the potential consequences and fear for their job.
It’s ridiculous that a college professor has to censor themselves for fear of repercussions at a university; priorities are so astray.
That’s not to say that all professors are part of the problem, or that all are scared speechless, but it seems the remaining high quality professors are scarce.
I can count on one hand the number of professors I’ve had of whom I can honestly say challenged my ways of thought and truly encouraged critical thinking—I’ve attended CSUSB for five years.
It’s certainly no coincidence that my favorite professor is the same professor which I hope administration pays the least amount of attention to.
I do not mean to insinuate that I’ve learned little in college; I’ve learned a lot. There is a clear separation in the education we receive, though.
The way I see it, the majority of college education is making smart students. The smart student can feed you some theory and regurgitate facts that he (or she—because political correctness requires constant acknowledgement of both sexes) has learned in various classes ranging in all sorts of topics.
The goal of a college should instead be to produce intelligent students. These students have the same storage of facts and general academic learning within, but beyond that they have been taught how to think, rather than what to think.
Unfortunately, the imbalance only seems to be getting worse, even on the large scale of our society as a whole.
Society is moving more and more towards a state where political correctness reigns supreme and where safe speech is preferred to free speech.
It’s hard to say if it will tip back the other way, but until it does we can expect the same dish we’ve been getting force-fed these last few years—a constant state of “protecting” any and all minority groups, the rampant lazy online activism, and absolute multiculturalism where everyone makes their own truth and way of life.
This is what the college campus has become, dulling critical thinking and instead creating “safe spaces” where freedom of speech is forsaken for people’s sensitivities and close-mindedness, and honest discussion is averted by liberally using words like bigotry, racism, Islamophobia, and Transphobia, among others.
Now what we have is the moral dilemma of the month, such as October’s edition of the great moral debate of culturally insensitive Halloween costumes, or November’s with the strict protection of Islam from all questions, concerns, or criticisms, that has seeped over into December as well—how embarrassed my generation should be, and how embarrassed colleges should be for failing to properly educate us.