The ancient bromide that, “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is being challenged by a new generation. College students are demanding “safe places” from so-called “micro-aggression”— including language that might offend or traumatize. Some researchers agree that words cause “silent suffering”—and that kids are right to insist on protection. But critics call it “censorship” that threatens the free exchange of ideas and disagreements, which are the essence of higher education.
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