Commentary: “Oppressive” Word Alert: Brandeis University Warns That “Trigger Warnings” Can Be Triggering

Jonathan Turley

Excerpt: It is now common for universities to list offensive terms to be avoided by faculty and students, as we have previously discussed at schools like Michigan, James Madison, and Berkeley.  Now, Brandeis has issued a list of “oppressive” words that include such expressions as “killing two birds with one stone” and “beating a dead horse.” However, the school did not issue a trigger warning because “trigger warning” is now on the list as . . . well . . . triggering.

We previously discussed Brandeis’s concern over “trigger warning” warnings and a dean’s controversial declaration that “Yes, all White people are racists.” However, the new list contains further examples of oppressive language and the suggested substitutes.  For example, rather than use expressions like “killing two birds with one stone,” the school’s Prevention, Advocacy and Resource Center (PARC) suggests “feeding two birds with one seed.” PARC is promising a more expansive list in the future.