My Problem with Safe Spaces
So I’m back on another one of those hot topics that tend to bummer me out when someone reveals the idiocy of said topic. Safe Spaces; I know, I know. They’re the new and latest hip trend. I think you’re being a racist, bigot, sexist, or whatever else – so I’m establishing my safe space, they always say. Ah, the home of trigger warnings and now popping up in a college near you!
Honestly, I’m not as much against safe spaces as people may think. I understand why people – be it young brainwashed kids – would choose to embrace them. Unfortunately, they may sound all safe and cozy but in reality, they ain’t and they only stand to worsen the core issue. Let’s put aside the fact that safe spaces are more common on college campuses and that they’re one of the origins of the so-called safe space. Otherwise, I’d likely get into all sorts of other issues; such as brain-washing, name-it-privileges, etc. So I’m choosing to stay out of it.
So let me give a very basic example of the first problem with safe spaces. I was watching a live-stream gaming couple and the debate over the best toppings on a pizza came up. Not only were the hosts and staff at odds but many people in the chat also had opposing opinions. It had finally gotten to the point that the one host declared that the live-stream was now a safe space, as a way to prevent everyone from debating it. When the other host had rejoiced in the fact that the same privilege of safe space would also protect his opinion; he was shot down and reminded that pineapple on a pizza was disgusting, as if the safe space didn’t exist. Well, ultimately he called her out on it and asked, “I thought this was a safe space?” To which she answered, “Yeah, a safe space for me and only my favorite is the best.”
While I understand they were just having fun and toying with the audience. What you have to remember is this is generally how the majority of safe spaces work, especially on college campuses. “I disagree, so I shut you down and declare that my opinion is the only right one.” Yeah, safe spaces make sense on paper – We agree to drop all racism, sexism, bigotry, and other discrimination at the door and just get along.” However, we then only allow in those who we “think” is right, sometimes even becoming violent, especially if there is no way to shun them. These sorts of safe spaces are also known as clicks, where the mass majority of the group share common beliefs and/or interest, in this case, they are all being intolerable to one point view. This is not a safe space, it’s an attempt to bully those you disagree with. And if a safe space becomes the norm like it has in some places, extending well beyond its confines, it will usually violate peoples right to freedom of speech – but I digress.
The other problem with safe spaces is it doesn’t allow for anyone to learn how to hold civil debates, learn new information, or even just come to accepting those who they will never agree with. One example being myself; because of my Christian faith, I will never change some of my beliefs because doing so would simply violate the promises of my lord and savor. For other people, it may be other reasons and I won’t get into those right now.
In general, a safe space only makes it harder for someone to come to see other points of view. The longer they live in said safe space, the harder it becomes. There’s also the effect of peer-pressure, some people come into a safe space over issue A but disagree heavily with the rest of the group over issue B. This will usually result in them being ejected from the group or giving in and changing their own views just to make peace. This is one-way kids are beginning to become more and more accepting of people with alternative lifestyles faster than ever before.
Jesus told us to love thy neighbor, so why ever on earth would he encourage people to join clicks so they wouldn’t feel attacked? I also grew up believing that we should treat others as we wish to be treated and I believe that is one of the first places we’ve failed. For some, this first failed in the home between parent and child. Others, this was the first person they heard preaching bigoted or racist slurs. While it would be their responsibility to always show compassion, acceptance, and understanding; they will likely forward similar or opposite versions of said discrimination – sometimes without realizing it.
And in conclusion, this is why I don’t hate safe-spaces but I do very much dislike them. If you must have a safe space don’t turn it into an anti-race club or an anti-gender club – this is one reason I can commonly be wary of events where only one gender is welcomed. Turn your safe space into a place where everyone agrees to disagree. Agree that you have different opinions and that it’s okay. You might even agree to have a civil debate and to shut it down if things get hot. Maybe you could even teach others about your different opinions. I don’t know, these are just some suggestions.
And to be honest, this is why myself and many of my friends like playing a game like Cards Against Humanity. – I know totally left-field right. – It’s a time we decide that no one is allowed to be offended because we are all equal-opportunity-offenders. We agree that we all can make fun of even our own beliefs, because trust me, even the ones that may be right can also have flaws.
TRIGGER WARNING: Try going out of your safe space and spending a day with someone you disagree with. You may find you have more in common than you initially thought.