My recollection is that Ms. Christakis in some sense escalated by calling such an attempt to social norm a “transfer of power”… by invoking power, perhaps, a battle that did not have to be engaged was engaged. But here I am acting as if people read things carefully and act according to nuances of wording. Silly me.
The couple stirred debate last fall, after Yale’s Intercultural Affairs Committee wrote a memo warning students against wearing culturally or racially insensitive Halloween costumes. Ms. Christakis responded with a long, searching email of her own, wondering whether Yale students really wanted to cede authority over their Halloween costumes to the administration. “Are we all O.K. with this transfer of power? Have we lost faith in young people’s capacity — in your capacity — to exercise self-censure, through social norming, and also in your capacity to ignore or reject things that trouble you?” she wrote. She added, “Is there really no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious?”