Your thoughts on 'Safe Spaces'.

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Your thoughts on 'Safe Spaces'.

Postby iked » July 5th, 2016, 12:37 am

Hey guys, just wanted to get some people's thoughts on this - I'm surrounded by like-minded people, so I have a hard time understanding some other people's viewpoints sometimes. Would appreciate any thoughts you guys might have.

What do you guys think about the so-called 'safe spaces' that are now popping up in larger educational facilities? If you didn't know, these are places that are supposed to be defined just for a certain set of people - whether bi, gay, whatever. Any 'negative' statements on that group of people are prohibited in those spaces. All sorts of people have been using and abusing it for political means. Don't really want to get into that, as that's not really the point of the topic, but it's a point in the topic, I suppose.

I mean, coming from my background - a straight, white, irish guy growing up in the Great Lakes, we were poor, and lived in a particularly sketchy community - lots of generally tense racial things going on. This group hated that group, these people hated those people - etc. So growing up I saw and experienced a lot of tension between various groups - but growing up in it, I got used to it - I learned how to deal with it. As my dad used to say back then, 'Offense is always taken, never given'. Names like Potato N****rs, Fire crotch (which I still laugh at to this day), etc, were thrown around on a daily basis. And jokingly (due to my dad's spreading that idea around), inside of the community, it became an endearing term.

What's I'm trying to get at is it seems like confronting the conflict head on seems to work, vs. hiding and patting yourself on the back - as it seems these 'spaces' are doing. I'm thinking if people actually explained themselves - encountered the hostility and dealt with it, rather than hiding - we wouldn't have such heavy tensions between the various groups. Maybe it's just how I was raised, I don't know. But I don't understand why these are a thing, if they obviously just create more tension between the different groups of people.

I've asked two good friends (guy and gal / both gay) what they thought of it, and - growing up in the same community - they said the same thing. To explain from their end - they went through a ton of shite in high school all the way through college in our community for, well, their lifestyle. But they took that hostility and repaid it with kindness - and they're a loved part of our tiny town now - just like all the rest of us who powered through the adversity.

I'm kind of rambling at this point, but seriously - do you guys think these spaces are healthy? Why do you think these have become more common recently?

I'd appreciate any thoughts. Just trying to see the other side's viewpoint on this.
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Re: Your thoughts on 'Safe Spaces'.

Postby OxyFemboi » July 5th, 2016, 6:52 am

My point of veiw is sadly out of date. However ...

When I was in high school and college, I was not bullied or beat up. However, that was due to my having grand mal epileptic seizures once about every six weeks. All the teachers and most of the students had seen me have a seizure, usually more than once. Many, many teachers and students kept an eye on me in case I needed help. Due to this, no person -- even me -- thought of me as a sexual being.

I was gay. I didn't tell anyone for years. I never dated. I was twenty-nine before I had the courage to come out to my parents.

If I had been a normal high school wimpy kid, I would have appreciated these "safe spaces". A skinny geek who wasn't that well liked who was also gay and hiding it? Not eveyone has the great upbringing you had or the courage to stand up to a bully the first time ... or the thirty-first time ... or has a protector. I never went through this because of my epilepsy. Yes, my parents would have gotten involved and had any bully punished ... but I didn't have the courage to tell my superb loving parents I was gay till I was twenty-nine. I lived in fear for decades ... and didn't get up courage to tell my parents who I knew would understand and accept me. As it was, I almost had a nervous breakdown when I did come out. It takes courage and maturity ... and that takes time.
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Re: Your thoughts on 'Safe Spaces'.

Postby ProfessorPig » July 9th, 2016, 9:19 pm

this is just part of the normal cycle.
you can compare safe spaces to the rules on stage coaches, no discussing politics or religion, and if you have a bottle, pass it around. they are simply rules to keep the peace so that everyone can focus on the task at hand, in this case learning.
trigger warnings are another one i hear a lot people giving grief about. but if you think back to old movies like "inherit the wind", there would often be a trigger warning before the movie to let you know that some people will be offended by the content of the film. the most interesting thing about this is that the films that had those warnings are now far from shocking.

another older example to think about is the song "anything goes". the values of one generation are continually replaced by the values of later generations. sometimes the pendulum swings one way, sometimes it swings the other.
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Re: Your thoughts on 'Safe Spaces'.

Postby zapnosis » August 8th, 2017, 12:21 pm

Sorry, late to the party.

What I find in debates about these kind of issues (at least in the UK media) is that people on both sides tend to over-simplify the issue in favour of their own camps. As a result the debate becomes banal and largely meaningless.

I tend to agree with the OP that safe spaces are not necessarily healthy if they cause people to hide from the issue rather than face it. BUT as a white, middle class, heterosexual male (albeit a rather weird one) in a society ruled by the same, it's easy for me to say that. I don't have to face widespread hostility or prejudice but I can easily imagine that even the strongest person would need a place to retreat to and recharge once in a while.

I wonder how my life would be different if my fetishistic desires were written on my forehead.

So, first principles. People have a right to be wrong, because no one of us is perfect. People have a right to express themselves, provided it does not violate the rights of others'. So people also have the right to walk away, but away to where?

Now I think about it, when I was in school we (the unpopular kids) made our own safe spaces in the places nobody else wanted to be. It seemed appropriate, but maybe it just made things worse. Has a "ghetto mentality" ever helped a minority group to become accepted?

Safe spaces are an imperfect solution in an imperfect world. That's as close as I can get to an answer.

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