Monday, 30 September 2019

Why Safe Spaces Don't Really Exist


This week the University of Edinburgh has been criticised for hosting an “anti-racism” event in which white people were due to be banned from asking questions. The conference was organised by the Resisting Whiteness group, which opposes racism and describes itself as a QTPOC (queer and trans people of colour) organisation. There are apparently two “safe spaces” at the event - and for one of which, white people will be barred from entering. The report said "the safe places are meant for those who feel “overwhelmed, overstimulated or uncomfortable”. Their aim is to “amplify the voices of people of colour" by not be giving the microphone to white people during the Q&As.

While the intentions are deeply disturbing, and indicative of a failing culture, I actually think the concept of safe spaces is a dubious one - there are not really any safe spaces, at least not at the intellectual level in universities. A place of sanctuary is a viable safe haven, such as for groups of addicts or women recovering from domestic abuse, but there are no real safe spaces in terms of intellectual ideas.
 
It's not just that attempted safe spaces stifle thought and erode free expression - the people within the walls of their self-constricted safe spaces are never really protected from what lurks beneath the sub-ducts of their psyche and their despair at being incarcerated in such a constricting mental prison. The walls they have erected to protect them from the outside are full of cracks into which those outside things leak anyway - you are never safe from the dangers of retarding truth, nor from the loss of the liberation gained from discovery and from the exploration of ideas. People who like the sound of intellectual safe spaces should be very careful what they wish for - it's going to feel like hell in the end.
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