"There Are No Safe Spaces"

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"There Are No Safe Spaces"

Post by Sonic# » Sat Nov 25, 12:57 2017

The subject refers to an article by the same name in The New Republic by Sarah Jaffe. Basically it's an opinion piece that reflects on the evolution of safe space rhetoric and opposition over the past several years, and the white fragility that seeks to create its own more insidious forms of safe space. A one-paragraph pull-quote:
When the flood of #MeToo stories, inspired by the work of anti-violence organizer Tarana Burke, hit social media, many professed surprise to see how common such violence was, including those who had spent their valuable column inches decrying students’ desire for places of safety or for the much-mocked “trigger warnings.” Some of them may have been truly unaware of the pervasiveness of sexual violence and harassment—or that it was happening in their places of employment. But it’s worth remembering that the repeated mocking of students as spoiled “snowflakes” underscored the idea that they could not seriously need safety from anything. These articles marshaled fatuous “free speech” claims to defend an oppressive status quo and even defend the rights of white nationalists and misogynists—those with a track record of using their platforms to harass, out, and endanger students.
I've seen the snowflake accusations in action. A couple of years ago, a campus was littered overnight with chalk that urged immigrants go home, that vaunted Trump's then-rhetorical wall, and that otherwise signalled that some students weren't welcome. Students protested and administrators agreed to remove the messages based on three arguments: that some of them were posted in areas where chalking in general is not allowed, that all chalking is subject to review according to policy guidelines, and that the messages were inappropriate. Well, this third reason got sufficiently in the national news that angry white men were actively commenting in the comments of the school newspaper's article, avowing that they'll recommend their companies never hire graduates from the college, complaining that students had gone soft since their day, and crowing that mere "political speech" (a phrase attempting to sanitize the hate) should be entirely protected. "Snowflakes" and "safe spaces" were part of their attack.

The connection Jaffe makes seems right to me. #MeToo and more recent accusations may have been a surprise, or they may have emerged from a silence enforced by people attacking the search for safety or less toxicity in our spaces.

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Re: "There Are No Safe Spaces"

Post by Nech » Mon Nov 27, 10:22 2017

I've always associated people complaining about safe spaces to always be the one in the most need. They despise change, don't want to hear about the horrible things committed by their community (normally it's the straight, gay, white, or male communities making the most noise), or simply don't want to believe or can't comprehend how bad things can be for other people. They want to make the world a safe space for them where they don't need to address the uncomfortableness of the world at large. I think it is just so jarring to them because they hide behind hot button words and stereotypes and are alarmed when something permeates that. And since #MeToo seeped into every corner of every political world, I can definitely understand why it was so jarring to some and it definitely makes sense. They've been told the left is soft, pampered, privileged, have no problems worthy of complaining about and that sexual assault isn't really a pandemic it's rare cases for women who deserve it. Then their mother would post #MeToo and their safe space they've cultivated is shattered.

I just hope they all remain shattered and that their open mindedness extends to other issues like immigrant plights and minimum wage issues, but I doubt it will.
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Re: "There Are No Safe Spaces"

Post by rowan » Wed Nov 29, 10:16 2017

Nech wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 10:22 2017
They want to make the world a safe space for them where they don't need to address the uncomfortableness of the world at large.
This! Except that the world is already a safe space for them where they don't have to deal with their complicity in white supremacy and misogyny. The fact that it's beginning to crack a little shows just what special sniveling whiners they are when it comes to confronting their own complicity.

(I don't like the term snowflake; it isn't always meant as an explicit reference to the Holocaust but the white supremacists definitely are continuing to use it that way.)
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Re: "There Are No Safe Spaces"

Post by Aum » Thu Nov 30, 8:24 2017

Hmmm... this really needs to be parsed carefully. The "safe space" phenomenon is not without its problems, including censorship of students and professors on college campuses. At the same time, college campuses really do have sexual harassment and assault problems. I'm all for designated safe spaces as long as they don't become a power grab like we are seeing in some areas (i.e. Berkeley) to shut down dissenting opinion.

The "snowflake" aspect of the polarized debate mostly arises from not being able to openly talk about certain subjects that make some people uncomfortable without social justice strategies being used to oppress their expression, to the over all detrimental of social justice movements. On the flipside, even this observation itself is abused by rightists to shut down modern liberalism, when in actual fact it's an observation that moderates are making about the current state of political discourse.

I think what's really going on here is that there is an extremist element arising in both left and right politics that is co-opting the fundamental principles of each side for their own oppressive agenda. I have seen both leftists and rightist attack free speech under this guise for no real reason other than they hate their political enemies. Meanwhile there are young men and women being raped on campuses in America on a daily basis who need genuine safe spaces, and there are right-wingers trying to argue for traditional values, smaller government and financial reform who get called racists, misogynists and white nationalists the second they open their mouths.

The U.S. is in cultural crisis. While the lines of communication are getting disrupted and shut down by so much extremist noise, the government is making real power grabs to oppress freedom and liberty. Anyone who lives outside the U.S. can see what's about to happen. You guys need to stop squabbling among yourselves.
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Re: "There Are No Safe Spaces"

Post by geldofc » Fri Dec 1, 2:32 2017

The anti-censorship on campus groups are actual nazis though.
If by right-winger you mean the dudes who want to control what I can do with my body or force me to have children I'm not ready for I'd consider him a misogynist.
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Re: "There Are No Safe Spaces"

Post by tomokun » Fri Dec 22, 19:16 2017

Aum wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 8:24 2017
Hmmm... this really needs to be parsed carefully. The "safe space" phenomenon is not without its problems, including censorship of students and professors on college campuses. At the same time, college campuses really do have sexual harassment and assault problems. I'm all for designated safe spaces as long as they don't become a power grab like we are seeing in some areas (i.e. Berkeley) to shut down dissenting opinion.

The "snowflake" aspect of the polarized debate mostly arises from not being able to openly talk about certain subjects that make some people uncomfortable without social justice strategies being used to oppress their expression, to the over all detrimental of social justice movements. On the flipside, even this observation itself is abused by rightists to shut down modern liberalism, when in actual fact it's an observation that moderates are making about the current state of political discourse.

I think what's really going on here is that there is an extremist element arising in both left and right politics that is co-opting the fundamental principles of each side for their own oppressive agenda. I have seen both leftists and rightist attack free speech under this guise for no real reason other than they hate their political enemies. Meanwhile there are young men and women being raped on campuses in America on a daily basis who need genuine safe spaces, and there are right-wingers trying to argue for traditional values, smaller government and financial reform who get called racists, misogynists and white nationalists the second they open their mouths.

The U.S. is in cultural crisis. While the lines of communication are getting disrupted and shut down by so much extremist noise, the government is making real power grabs to oppress freedom and liberty. Anyone who lives outside the U.S. can see what's about to happen. You guys need to stop squabbling among yourselves.
This is exactly what I've been saying for such a very long time.

The problem at this stage isn't with the right or the left, but rather with extremists blurring the issues on both sides. There is a cultural war, and without the extremist elements the progressive side would likely win with minimal conflict.

For example, there was an issue with a "circus" show recently. It is fairly well known to be a burlesque style show where each member of the audience will be interacted with. It involves some risque acts, laced with humor, and the plot is about some sort of mad scientist trying to create the perfect woman. The issue with the show is that there has been issues regarding audience members feeling uncomfortable because they were being either touched without express consent, or victims of sexual assault being triggered by various bits.

Now, its very easy to take the side of the audience members - because any way you slice it its simply wrong to touch someone without their consent. However, the fact is that the audience members that are complaining are in the minority.

No matter how many audience members might NOT be complaining because of social pressure, etc., this doesn't change the fact that arguably most people really enjoy the show and have no problem. That leaves a real question to be asked...

If a show has an audience that is willing and happy to be involved in said show, doesn't that show have a right to exist?

The answer, is of course, complicated.

IMHO, it absolutely does, but it certainly needs some tweaking. It needs to better set expectations with audience members, it probably needs some mechanical adjustments and the like, maybe some waivers, etc. Essentially, it needs to create a mechanism that reasonably ensures that audience members are aware of the content of the show and are consenting to participate.

Now, perhaps there are some on this forum that might disagree... and that's sort of the point. None of us are going to agree on everything, so our collective needle of what is appropriate and inappropriate is likewise going to shift. So we need to be able to discuss these things, and that means that while its certainly important to have safe spaces, by definition if there are safe spaces there are also UNSAFE spaces. Spaces where disagreements can be peacefully aired. Spaces where controversial ideas can be discussed. Spaces where we can ask questions that might be considered abhorent at first glance... because there is likely fertile and unexplored ground given they are not often exposed to the light of inquiry.

Perhaps those spaces aren't unsafe at all, but rather safe for objectionable discussions and the like. Or perhaps, as Aum pointed out, safe spaces are only valuable so long as they too aren't taken to extremes. That requires perhaps, less formality, and a greater tolerance for rhetorical disagreements. Tolerance, in a lot of ways, is simply the margin between peaceful disagreement and violence. I fail to see the problem with advocating debate over censorship. I know of no wars or murders caused by an overabundance of rational discourse.

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Re: "There Are No Safe Spaces"

Post by Plotthickens » Fri Dec 22, 21:33 2017

Please keep in mind that we now know that disruptions of the natural narrative are now becoming commonplace. Paid political trolls disrupted Democrats by impersonating Black Lives Matter and other leftist groups -- portraying them as violent, homicidal, homophobic, etc. So it's important to determine who is saying what before accusing groups of "squabbling" among themselves.

Also I'd like to point out that these fukbois who want to end all trigger warnings and safe spaces suddenly shut up and stare at the wall when you bring up Movie Ratings, PTSD trigger warnings for vets on First Person Shooters & movies, and how Churches are asylums and AA and NarcAnon (etc) meetings are all safe spaces. If it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander.
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