FPIW received this letter from a former professor in response to our video, College Kids Say the Darndest Things: On Identity.
I’ve just seen your interesting interviews with “nonjudgmental” students at the University of Washington.
Your question about our ability to answer the questions that really are difficult remains up in the air, but I can tell you that people can’t deal with life-and-death issues even when someone’s life is at stake.
While teaching linguistics at a university in Michigan, I routinely had young damsels walking up to me after class from a group of 85 students to ask for personal advice.
One of them had been sleeping in the bed with a drug addicted boyfriend whom her parents had inexplicably allowed to move in when she was a teenager. Now she wanted to get him out, but she couldn’t. I gave her my best advice and the courage to kick him out. (More than courage, I gave her the realistic fear of how things may end up if he didn’t.)
Another one had become the “girlfriend” of a procurer and pornographer who took a class or two on campus so that he could recruit women for his operation. He had falsely convinced her he was “protecting” her from the sex industry, when in fact, he was following all the steps routinely used to break a woman into prostitution or pornography. At this point, he was at the step of trying to create an obligation that she could not earn enough in a normal way to pay back. I blew the lid off the whole thing for her and told her how to get away from the guy, which she did.
Now, the question is, why were these girls going to their professor with this? Why not a counselor or even a friend?
The reason, they told me, was that nobody in their lives, but me, would be judgmental.
Even when a young woman’s life was in danger, nobody did anything more than encourage her to clarify her feelings, and some even encouraged the one girl to discuss her concerns with the pornographer to find out how he felt!
So people now can’t make judgments even when it’s necessary.
In case you missed it, here’s the video everyone has been talking about.
If you’d like to support more projects like the video series, shown above, please click here to link arms with us.