For the 2016-2017 academic year, safe spaces were a particularly hot topic in light of the 2016 election in which both sides of America’s political spectrum were rather vocal in their support or opposition to the idea. There are some articles floating around that claim that safe spaces on college campuses are redundant if not counter-intuitive and promotes segregation instead of diversity. Those who advocate for the elimination or continued absence of safe spaces often misconstrue where safe places would be or exactly what constitutes as a safe space.
This could probably be due to the Sinclair group’s corporate takeover of local news channels so that they can spread their pro-Trump views by using flattering diction. This video is one of the many that appear when one searches “safe spaces” on YouTube. FOX even has several of their own videos which ponder whether millennials will have the necessary skills to fight terrorism. Arguably, their perspective isn’t invalid because it questions the actual worth of the spaces but undoubtedly the language that both the left and the right use to refer to one another is nothing short of inflammatory. The “right” calls the “left” social justice warriors, cucks, and elitist snowflakes but the “left” is no better with insults such as backward hillbillies, Neo-Nazi, and white supremacists. Granted, there are actual neo-Nazis and white supremacists but to generalize all of the people of a particular political ideology certainly does no favors. If anything, it further alienates people.
People are now making awkward attempts to understand each other but it’s still mostly reporting statistics or forgetting that some, the new administration at the very least, promises change. Be it good or bad, people can’t ignore “the other side” anymore or write them off as a silent minority. Most news channels are confused by the conservative populism phenomenon (as historical trends tend to skew towards ideologies that favor progressivism) but there have been populist movements before and it’s always difficult to make sense of things as they happen. After bias, representation becomes the most condemning thing for media. What they decide or not decide to cover decides what voters are aware of as they make decisions. That’s part of the reason why FOX news does so well or that Trump resonated with those who voted for him. But in this case, when both sides speak of the other, it is often while maintaining a caricature of the “other side”. A character. A persona. But not another human being. It then becomes a happy game of either intimidation or provocation on both parts due to this intense feeling of “other” produced by cultural lag. Cultural lag is when cultural aspects that were previously acceptable have been outstripped by progress, in this case, socio-political progress. It has been called fear-mongering and it has been called furious self-righteousness.
I cannot speak as though some do not violently parade under the banner of the Black Lives Matter or even support black supremacy as opposed to equality. In the same way, not all Christians go on Crusades, not all Muslims are terrorists and not every Republican approves of the sitting president. We have to acknowledge these vast overgeneralizations based on extremes and instead look towards the medians. Progressives understand the Black Lives Matter Movement is a continuation of the Civil Rights Movement. The difference between then and now is that blatant racism was largely accepted. Now we shun actual discrimination without giving much thought to the actual prejudices. Mr. Jonathan Helwink of The Federalist asserts that safe spaces actually make the world a more dangerous place for that very reason. Doing this is often denoted as “political correctness” which helps to harbor resentment or at least the idea that the “left” has sensitive sensibilities which is where the term snowflake comes from.
It cannot be said that all of the right’s views are archaic nor that the left has all the answers to progress. Nor can it be said that one side is superior to the other. Both sides respect humanity but sometimes it becomes a matter of how they approach it. According to the political spectrum some five years ago, many more people were moderates. So what changed in that span of time? Vox in particular points to the rise of nationalism in the Republican base and any mention of the Democrats is usually headed by “reviving the party” and “this is where we went wrong.” What the world is seeing now is called friction. Some minorities want acknowledgement, others want rights, and still other groups just want rights de facto. As soon as the election ended, news companies encouraged people to create a dialogue. For the most part, there were some half-hearted attempts but it didn’t take long to fall back into a routine with all the scandals surrounding the administration and the failure to distinguish between the different types of supporters on both sides of the aisle.
Conservatives still largely feel attacked for having an opinion and liberals do not “deign” to politely explain why they may find certain conservative views “ignorant”. This is the part of the reason why liberals are seen as elitist. Liberals now have views which would have been considered hippie or ultra-contemporary whereas the conservatives more or less want different things in foreign policy but want the domestic policy as it was ten years ago.
I won’t go into too much detail because that will take an entire article in of itself to elaborate fully. However, you can see the difference in the approaches of these two YouTube personalities and you can guess where their political philosophies lie and you can decide for yourself who is more respectable:
Learning that it is a bloody spectrum
If you want the other person to listen to you, you have to be willing to respect them as much as you want them to hear you out. Sometimes, it’s hard to not get emotional as most liberals were after the 2016 election (as it also was in 2000) but that does not excuse the mud-slinging. Twitter posts and the like of conservative minds often remark that they themselves did not behave in such a manner. The liberals were not reluctant to point out that this was not true. My honest opinion is that we all stop being dicks but then there’s the awkward grey area where the dickish people make us appreciate those who will have a dialogue. What to do? What to do? So, about safe spaces… Are they a legitimate thing?
Why I am probably not a credible authority on this discipline
We gossip. We laugh. We lament. We cry. But we do it all with people that seem like us. That is not to say that we are all friends within the space but that we can derive comfort and understanding from these spaces. If one is feeling homesick, one of the ethnic student associations may celebrate by organising ethnic festivals with food and ethnic culture. If one is a girl and is tired of having everything mansplained, there’s a space for women. Honestly, safe spaces are not bubbles that people are born and die in but it is a bubble that one retreats into when you want someone to understand you. I honestly cannot think of a way to define this without Neo-Nazis being able to say aren’t celebrating their “culture” and were also seeking the same comfort and like-mindedness offered in these spaces but I can say with certainty that all the minority groups that are requesting safe spaces do not mean other people harm. That should be the only thing I have to say in that regard.
Appreciating that we have more in common than we give ourselves credit for
We do not forget. We have been enduring. We will forgive if someone were to sincerely apologize but the majority of us bear no ill will to people who bear us no ill will. We have enough issues and although we speak about the things we want to change, there are things we know will take a while to change. That is why we use safe spaces: not to take away from democracy or counter-intuitively stimulate segregation.
Editor’s Note: I believe that we have come to a point where with my unruly schedule, my political forecastings are observations by the time I can write a post. How do you all feel with the current pacing of things? Have you lost track? Have you tried sorting things into wrong and right?