Safe spaces are unhealthy because college students need to stop hiding from views that upset them.

In the college environment we are supposed to be challenging old ideas and popular opinions. Safe spaces go against the logic of the scientific method because they leave no room for hypotheses that offend or discomfort people. This is the same line of thinking that led to people believing the Earth was flat and everything revolves around us. It is not only egocentric but flat out apprehensive to need a safe space to discuss and debate. How will students possibly transition into the real world if they cannot have a simple discussion without their opinion being challenged? We need to not only be open to being wrong, but skeptical of being right.

  • 🤔Changed Author's View
    6 years ago

    How will students possibly transition into the real world if they cannot have a simple discussion without their opinion being challenged?

    I've only ever needed a safe space for one thing. This happened to be a thing about which my opinion was challenged daily, where I second guessed myself constantly, and where I wrestled with what the right path to move forward was based on the facts of the matter and the values I held. This was my sexuality, specifically the fact that I'm gay.

    I'll assume you're straight, for the sake of argument. I can assure you I've spent far, far more time thinking about the morality and social implications of being gay than you ever have, if you are. I've argued with people both in real life and on the internet about misconceptions surrounding homosexuality, about facts about homosexuality, about the morality of homosexuality. I go out of my way to seek people who disagree with me on this and other issues, because I enjoy arguing, debating, and discussing. (I've got a number of deltas and a post history on this sub to back me up on this.) It would be silly to suggest I can't have a discussion with my opinion being challenged when I routinely do it for fun.

    And I needed that safe space.

    Let me clarify, first. When I talk about a "safe space," I'm talking about them in their original conception, which is basically a club room or a specific person you can go to without fear of being judged on a certain subject. (Well, the original original conception has strong ties in particular with women's issues and LGBT issues, but I feel this is close enough to count.) It is not a blank check to avoid ever thinking about things that disturb you. It is not an echo chamber where everyone automatically agrees with everything you say. It is a place where you go when you feel the whole world against you and you need one goddamn place where you don't have to second guess yourself.

    Safe spaces are not for opinions which are shared by the vast majority of people. Safe spaces are for opinions where you risk shame, humiliation, and emotional pain by expressing them. It takes courage to express those ideas. And while it's a laudable goal to get everyone to have this courage, it's unfair to require it of people who have been facing this challenge every day of their lives.

    It might be hard to appreciate if you've never actually had an issue which really requires a safe space. I'll continue using the example of sexuality to illustrate. In 2016, it might ring a little less true because the tide of opinion has shifted so much. So imagine a less welcoming place than the modern Western world- most of Asia, for example. There, there's still a significant social stigma attached with being gay, and you risk social ostracization by coming out. (And for the sake of accuracy, I will write this from a purely male perspective, because I'm not 100% how similar the lesbian one is.) Imagine that, for example, you slowly start to realize around adolescence that you're not exactly normal. You see a lot about romance on TV, and you have since you were a kid. You see the male leads pair up with the female leads, you see plot lines that focus on the bond between couples, you see people talk about how wonderful nature is that it came up with male and female to complement each other.

    Your friends talk about sex. They talk about what girls they like, which celebrities are the hottest, which teachers they have inappropriate crushes on. And you sort of nod along and convince yourself you get it, because you're supposed to, until one day you go, huh. Wait a minute...

    You might have noticed that you had more in common with who the girls thought were hot than the guys. You might have noticed that the porn video your best friend secretly sent you didn't really do anything for you, although you faked it the best you could. If anything, you realize you were more interested in the guy, and oh fuck no.

    You know what being gay is. You also know that you've heard a politician or a pastor on TV say that being gay is unnatural, a sin, a perversion. You know that your friends at school call each other gay, jokingly, as an insult. You know that telling a guy to suck your dick is the height of teen wit, that being fucked in the ass means humiliation. Comedians tell jokes where the punchline is being gay, and that people actually laugh at it. You have a vague idea that being gay means being less of a man, somehow, even though you probably can't articulate it and don't understand it.

    And you start to feel disconnected. Are you going to have a wife? Are you going to have kids? What are you supposed to do, if you're not attracted to girls? All your life, you've been told that men are supposed to be with women- so if you don't feel that way, what does that make you? It makes you nervous. It makes you scared. You know there are gay celebrities, somewhere, that there's gay culture, somewhere, but you're a teenager, and you were shy to start with, and having this dropped on you doesn't exactly make you more outgoing. So you just... hide.

    You build up an act, so no one finds out. You pretend to like girls; you might even date one. You jerk off, quietly, while your parents are asleep, and you fantasize about porn stars, or if you're especially unlucky, friends you know will never return the favor and will be disgusted if they find out. Nobody at your school is "out," except that weirdly flamboyant kid in band. You stay away from him; he makes you feel uncomfortable. He makes you feel unsafe.

    You do this for years. Privately, quietly, you do research, and you build up opinions. You start questioning what you've been told; you see the rare, few shows which feature gay people in any fashion that aren't completely stereotypes (or even ones that do- even if they're made fun of, even if they're comical, at least they still have friends who know and don't leave), and it gives you a little bit of hope. But at home, at school, it just doesn't feel safe. There's a risk, too much of a risk, that it'll just blow up in your face. You can imagine the looks of disgust. You can see the disappointment in your parents' eyes. So you bottle it up, and feel lonelier, and lonelier.

    And when you go to college, you find out there's a place where they say, "no judgment." They list a lot of things they don't judge. They have that neat little rainbow thing you've seen, or the purple triangle. And you go, huh...

    There is a legitimate purpose for safe spaces. They exist precisely because the world it not safe. An oak tree might survive a brushfire. A seedling won't. College is a place where you challenge, yes, but you also nurture. And you can't nurture someone who is too scared, too hurt, too cautious, especially when all of their other experiences have told them it's right to be that way.

    Safe spaces aren't places you're supposed to hang around forever. They're there to get you on your feet. To challenge an opinion, you need to be secure enough to express it first. And you'll never do that if you're scared you'll get crushed every time you talk.

    • 🎤Author
      6 years ago

      Okay you have me sold man. Honestly I don't know if safe spaces are always (or even mostly) used the way you described, but if they stay true to what you have described I feel that they have their place, but not in a classroom situation.

    • 6 years ago

      Oh, I'd absolutely agree that a classroom shouldn't be a safe space (except maybe in very specific circumstances, when they're advertised as such, and there shouldn't be many of them). There definitely need to be places where you views are explicitly challenged too. I will note that as far as I know, safe spaces are much more in line with what I've described than with what people who object to safe spaces think they are.

      I'm glad you found what I said helpful.

    • 🎤Author
      6 years ago


    • 🎤Author
      6 years ago

      wow my inbox is so full omG. if It wasn't obvious you won my opinion mate! I am new to Reddit and was using mobile so I didn't know about delta I apologize.

    • 6 years ago

      No problem. I don't care about deltas so much as about actually getting a response, so don't worry about not having given one.

    • 🎤Author
      6 years ago

      You poured your heart into that comment and my karma is out the window now (or seems like it to me haha) I just really appreciate the effort you gave in that response. You showed the utmost respect and did change my view. Good job!

    • 6 years ago

      Thanks! I usually try to be respectful of other people's opinions because it's hard to get someone to see your point of view if you don't respect theirs. (And because it's a nice thing to do.) This in particular has been something I've been wanting to get off my chest ever since I saw the recent discussions about safe spaces pop up.

    • 🎤Author
      6 years ago

      glad you had a chance! And got some gold for it!

    • 6 years ago

      Yeah, it was my first gold post. I should apparently share more highly personal stories late at night when I have less of a filter :P

  • 6 years ago

    OP, do you object to support groups as well? A support group is, in essence, a safe space. If you go to any alcoholics anonymous meeting, you're going to be sitting in a group of people who will describe the worst things they ever did and no one will open their mouth and say, "Wow, you're a horrible person." Because sometimes that's what it takes. Sometimes people need to know that when they reveal the most guarded and vulnerable part of themselves, no one is going to chime in to confirm the worst thoughts they ever had. That instead, they'll be revealing it to people who can relate. They'll be talking to people who themselves have experienced and done similar things.

    Removing "safe spaces" or support groups just hides those things, it doesn't make them go away. For gay kids, it just pushes them back into the closet. For people who were molested, it just forces them to deal with their trauma alone.

    A safe space is really just a place where people with similar experiences and backgrounds can gather and relate experiences with one another without fearing someone will belittle or explain away their feelings. Ignoring pain doesn't make someone stronger, it just forces that pain to express itself in other ways. Would you rather have a husband who belittles and berates his wife because he hates himself or a husband who goes to a support group once a week to deal with those feelings?

    I know recovering alcoholics who were afraid to stop drinking because they couldn't bear to confront the things they had done when they were drunk. A safe space allows them to explore that part of themselves without fear that people around them would condemn them. For a lot of people, that's the only way to get better.

    • 6 years ago

      Being upset by a challenge and not being in the mood to deal with a challenge aren't the same thing. Imagine if you lived somewhere ideologically contrary to your own opinions. Would you be alright defending yourself to each and every person who confronts you, both in person and online? The world's an enormous place and it's too easy for large numbers of people to focus their efforts on singular individuals who have no reason to be targeted for it.

      The entire concept of subreddits is evidence that safe-spaces, at least in their broadest definition, are necessary. Why didn't you post your question to /r/politics or one of the other enormous subs rather than this, controlled, safe sub? Using different subs is a way to narrow our search parameters to include only people interested in speaking on a topic under the right conditions.

      Safe spaces are much less about protecting one's beliefs from challenge than they are about protecting our sanity from excessive attentions. Sound cancelling headphones create a safe space. Staying up late to work while everyone else is asleep is creating a safe space. Avoiding mentioning politics to keep your hairdresser from rambling on about their views is creating a safe space.

      "Not right now, please" is the sentiment that many people seek through safe spaces. Safe spaces are, paradoxically, a means to mull things over and come to better conclusions.

      You've probably felt this before but it's much easier to change your mind about a topic in the privacy of your own mind than it is to do so out loud in the middle of a heated argument. "Safe spaces" are increasing in number and variation because quietness is often harder to find. Our human hive chatters ever louder and, with the internet at our fingertips, we rarely get a chance to distill and cool down. This is especially true of subreddits.

      We take criticism best from those who understand us and therefor seek those environments. Unfortunately, those who understand us are less likely to offer that criticism. Criticism is fruitless without empathy but empathy doesn't always offer criticism. That's why subs like this one are important: they demand both from commenters.

      I'm not saying there aren't troublesome escapes to be had through the practice but avoiding the truth isn't unique to "safe spaces". Seeking criticism is something you did of your own volition. Seeking to avoid criticism would also be your choice. Safe spaces are a way of presenting options but at the end of the day, how you protect your sanity is up to you.

      Everyone believes they know the truth. How well your truth applies to this reality is determined by your own efforts to find out.

      • 6 years ago

        I used to agree with you, but slowly have changed my mind somewhat. Mainly because I think we're not talking about the same things.

        In general, what most people see as what 'safe spaces' are is more of a warped mis-characterization. Like the students of a college trying to make an entire campus a safe space. This isn't what safe spaces were set up for, and aren't representative of how they are helpful or how they've been used in the past.

        Some good examples of how effective safe spaces might be set up...

        • A weekly meeting of LGBTQ individuals at a college where they can get together and talk about their experiences without judgment or even without any positive or negative responses.

        • A room set up outside of a lecture on a controversial topic. Like if somebody was coming to give a lecture on how rape doesn't exist, and women can't be raped. A room outside the lecture hall might be set up for students who want to hear the lecture but maybe end up needing somewhere they can go for non-judgmental emotional comfort.

        • A place set aside near a dorm at a college where students can go without fear of judgement. Because they literally have nowhere else they can go that is emotionally safe for them. Maybe their roommate is hostile toward them, and where ever they go, even just taking a walk down the street, they are derided. Imagine having nowhere you can go where you aren't judged for who you are.

        In general, they exist as a place somebody who has nowhere else to go, can go to escape for a little while.

        But what some people have tried to do is make entire buildings, entire communities, or entire classrooms 'safe spaces'. This goes against what the intent of the system was and how it's been used for years. And to rally against this kind of mis-use ignores all of the successful safe space systems that are temporary, and very limited in size and scope.

        To be against the general safe spaces and more specific safe spaces are two different discussions, I think. The general safe space idea goes against the foundations of freedom and should be discussed in that way. But a more specific safe space has been used in a variety of ways throughout history to great success.

        Examples of what could be characterized as 'safe spaces' for their members

        • fraternal organisations
        • college fraternities
        • therapy groups
        • churches (to some extent)
        • political parties

        Podcast debate on this very topic. (Trigger warning - they discuss trigger warnings)

        Part 1: Link - MP3

        Part 2: Link - MP3

        Part 3: Link - MP3

        • 6 years ago

          I have spent 6 years at 2 different universities and I have seen maybe 4 posters advertising safe spaces in some small club room for a short scheduled time, so I don't really understand the idea that safe spaces are interfering with anyone's expression. They seem like small private groups that people spend a minority of their time in, so they are still interacting with real world rules for almost all of their life.

          Do you have evidence of safe spaces growing and devouring classrooms and stuff?

          • 6 years ago

            I teach at a university and I think the use of the term 'safe space' is twisted to make an argument that doesn't really apply to the idea as I have encountered it. In fact 'safe space', in my experience, is used in almost that opposite way of this idea of sheltering from opinions outside of your own. The way I use the term, and the only way I have seen it used, is to say that we are in a place where complex or controversial opinions can be expressed and explored without people being shouted down or having anger directed at them for expressing an unpopular opinion. It is 'safe' from being shut down for being outside of the majority opinion. It is also 'safe' in that people can tell you that you are full of shit without simply yelling 'you can't say that.' and thereby shutting down the conversation. 'Safe Spaces', again, in my experience, are about furthering dialogue, nut truncating it.

            • 6 years ago

              When I was in school in the 90's, the concept of safe spaces just wasn't a thing; it was expected that everyone should face their issues head on in order to be healthy, and a failure to do so was your fault and not the perpetrator's. I was severely mentally ill during this time, although perfectly able to learn and wasn't particularly disruptive, if anything I was the quiet one. Had I been able to go to a room which was designated "safe" I may have coped better with my illness. I absolutely agree that some issues do need to be faced, but there's no positive from being called a psycho over and over, being excluded, being made to feel two inches tall. I left school at thirteen because I was only damaging myself every time it came up, which was daily.

              In college, you assume it will be different. However on adult learning courses I often had people much older than myself (middle aged+) act the same way. Demanding to know what my scars are about, insisting on knowing every last detail, constantly pushing and judging and excluding, whispering about the "looney".

              Had I been able to go somewhere for a short while and get myself together in an environment where I knew that absolutely wouldn't happen, I'd have perhaps stuck those courses out instead of leaving for my own wellbeing. When tutors are joining in ("being crazy doesn't mean you can run off whenever you want" - aka having a panic attack and going to calm down in the bathrooms for a couple of minutes, one tutor delighted in dragging me back in while I was in full blown panic mode - to the laughter of students for how silly it looked to them) it can feel like you'll never be safe. When you want that education, it's hard to have to walk away over and over for your own sanity. Walking away is the only way I could see though because there was nowhere in that building I could go and feel safe.

              Paranoia is very easy to build. When you have no way of getting respite, it carries on building. I've since realised that I can calm the paranoia by just being somewhere I know I'll be safe from judgement, and I know I'd have done much better in life had I been able to have that 'safe space' in the past.

              To me, safe spaces are about giving yourself the chance to get back out there and cope. Some people just need a little extra time and safety to be able to do that. It's not about hiding, it's about having a breather. Removing yourself from a situation you know can only go downhill if it continues. Sometimes there really is no positive from facing everything at once. When judgement and bigotry is aimed at you from seemingly every corner... you can either lose it totally or you can retreat for a short while and come back feeling stronger for it.

              I think the concept has been totally overblown. I've seen people on FB talk about it, and they seem to think it's something more than it is. This seems to have led to some thinking entire buildings need to either be safe spaces or nothing at all. All it takes is one room. If it's been misused by education authorities, that's their mistake.

              • 6 years ago

                I don't think you have defined the concept of a safe space clearly enough.

                For instance the Occupy London on-line safe spaces policy is perfectly reasonable.

                I am sure you can provide examples of a bad one as well, although I've not come across any which exist in academia which result in opinions going unchallenged. I'm sure you can find examples of a safe space policy which would do this, but these are only really found in organisations which support people who need to be shielded from behaviour which although socially acceptable in mainstream society would be damaging for them.

                I think this post is buying into a popular tabloid like moral panic about academia. There is a nice blog post on this here with part 2 here.

                Anyhow, I think for this to be true, you have to provide some evidence of it taking place.

                Safe spaces go against the logic of the scientific method because they leave no room for hypotheses that offend or discomfort people.

                I don't know of any safe space policies which do this, and I certainly don't know of any that do this in schools or universities. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

                • 6 years ago

                  Safe spaces are not meant as places where people discuss edicational or scientific ideas, or "hypotheses."

                  The reality is that while the goal of universities is to teach and to further our knowledge, universities are institutions attended by thousands of people, and people have needs. A university that spends no resources on the wellbeing of its students is not a good institution, regardless of how high it may stand academically.

                  Safe spaces are a lot more situational and constrained than you seem to think. A safe space is a place where, in the presence of people who share your experiences, you can let go of the facade you hold on front of others and discuss difficult and sensitive topics without fear of being judged. Having this option helps thousands of students to get by everyday. Think of support groups for victims of an accident or crime; this is the same thing. When the session is over, the students put their armour back on and go back to facing the outside world.

                  Everyone has sensibilities. And everyone must learn to get through everyday life in spite of these weaknesses and sensibilities. The thing is, if you never discuss them or find a a group of supporting peers to help you through, then you likely won't be able to function very well. Colleges as institutions ought to be aware of this need and to provide the resources to respond to such needs.

                  • 6 years ago

                    You're entire view is a big fat strawman. The notion of a safe space is not some intellectual lockbox where only the prevailing viewpoint is allowed to be discussed.

                    Safe spaces are specific locations and times where certain groups can meet and hold discussions without fear of outsiders interrupting, belittling experiences, mocking, or in general being dicks. Alcoholics Anonymous, for instance, is a safe space. You are not welcome to walk in and offer people whisky or call the attendees weak willed or whatever. Similarly, a club for African Americans might have expectations that students do not walk in and say that, for instance, black males are to blame for police shootings, or that perceived microaggressions are just some form of victim complex, regardless of whatever justification or statistics one might have.

                    A classroom (the school grounds in general) is not a safe space. You still don't have the right to harass others, but opinions are debatable and facts are interpretable.

                    Safe spaces don't occur in, or apply to, the academic environment, where views should be challenged, twisted, and strengthened as much as possible. They occur in extracurricular environments.

                    • 6 years ago

                      The thing is, with respect to some issues, there's just not a lot of value in the "challenges" because they're very rarely novel or thought-provoking. Just the same old worthless crap over and over and over again.

                      Example. I'm bisexual, and I've been told probably a couple hundred times that I'm either (1) straight and want to be special, or (2) gay and just haven't really come out yet. Like clockwork, if I talk about my sexuality, there it is. It's not challenging, just an annoying waste of my time. Seeking out a space where I can have a conversation about bi erasure or something without having to spend 20 minutes trying to convince people (and never, not once, succeeding) that I'm not lying about my sexuality is not causing some great poverty of honest discourse.

                      And that's just a very benign example. There are others in which the stakes are far higher. I'm sure you can imagine.

                      Now that's not to say that there can't be problems. I agree that the kind of insulation safe spaces if taken to extremes can create from the world at large can lead to a kind of culture shock upon exiting. But that's usually not because people were being kept away from reasonable, informed good ideas.

                      • 6 years ago

                        A safe space isn't inherently a bad thing. Think of it like a club. For example, let's have one club where people are crazy about Marvel, and one that's crazy about DC. People don't want to have their interests shit on for a long period of time. This can also help people feel more comfortable expressing their interests and being who they are, whether it's a race, gender or otherwise marginalized group. Heck there's not even anything wrong with making a club about how great it is to be a white man; much of the hatred comes from the radicalization and centuries of history where those groups abused that power.

                        Safe spaces applied to an entire place, especially those forced upon people, really do have good intentions. They want students to feel accepted, even when those abrasive people are barricading or shushing. However, it's the mass censorship of ideas against universal acceptance, the radicalization and stupidity on both ends that make it worse. It's awful that this concept has turned into either "if you don't follow my rules you're a bigoted asshole who deserves to die" or "if you don't listen to me then you're a fucking bitch who can't handle negative comments. Everyone should watch that South Park episode because they get it." To strip this concept into a black and white morality is why it's so heated. Many things have a black and white morality, and it can be solved with compromise. Safe spaces aren't inherently wrong. But safe spaces invading the space of the world, or other safe spaces, is what you should be mad at.

                        • 6 years ago

                          Do you mean the idea that the institution as a whole is a 'safe space' or the very presence of 'safe spaces' anywhere on campus? At my university the only time I see the expression 'safe space' used is to describe certain specific club rooms. There will be the Anime club, the Christian club and then there might be an LGBT room and they will describe their club room as a safe space. There are no mandatory classes or anything in these rooms.

                          • 6 years ago

                            I work on a university campus. I don't have an office, per se; I have a department, but my work keeps me floating all day, and I work in contact with students all day, every day. To say students are often in turmoil, often dramatic... is to understate it. These are people just figuring out who they ARE. That's huge.

                            We have 'safe space' signs around, and counselling offices, and in general it's a very open, accepting environment (even as far as unis go).

                            I have often felt the same way as you, wondering if students were using being 'safe' as a way to hide from things. Some probably do take advantage to spout nonsense, or hide from conflict in those rooms.

                            But we have students who, even on a very free campus, feel pressures they NEED relief from. They've been sexually assaulted and need to talk, vent, cry, scream, have meetings. They've just discovered they might be gay, or they're trans, and don't know who to talk to. They need a place to go where they know they can ask about anything without judgement; their egos are fragile. They're broke and can't call home. They're addicted and scared. They're failing and need someone to talk them through academic counselling, without being angry or disappointed in them. They have a secret eating disorder or their roommate caught them cutting, and they feel like they can't go back home. They're suicidal, and can't stand looking in the mirror.

                            Whatever the pressure is, maybe that little welcoming sign is all they need to see to be brave enough to tell someone how they're feeling. If having those places available stops one person from harming him or herself, to me it's worth everything.

                            So for all the dorks and posers who whine about how they're misunderstood and thank goodness there's a safe space to discuss their special unique selves, I wouldn't ever want to take those spaces away from the people who actually do need them and use them to make some very positive things happen.

                            • 6 years ago

                              Though I campaigned against Safe Spaces whilst I was at university, (which was not exactly a popular position), I understand the logic behind them, and would not call them unhealthy or involving hiding from views that upset them.

                              Imagine you are a member of a group that has suffered considerably over your lives, such as surviving sexual assault, or racism. Having suffered this, a fact you have to live with, and are often reminded about throughout your life, it does not seem to be unhealthy for there to be a place created whereby you can reasonably expect not to have to these things thrown in your face.

                              It is the case that this position is often taken to an extreme at universities, though that is relatively common among my particular age demographic.

                              I believe the problem is the distinction between a university as a place of learning (where presumably nothing should be of the table) and a home where people live (where it is reasonable to expect people not to throw things which would considerably affect you in your face). Because we disagree about this, and this is not debated but simply assumed by both sides, we tend to talk past each other.

                              However, though I disagree with them at university, I would not say they are unhealthy or simply about hiding from views that offend them.

                              • 6 years ago

                                Tim says "Gay people are gross" (statement is not hypothesis but just an opinion because untestable and highly subjective)

                                Jane says "The earth is flat" (statement is a hypothesis because testable and objective)

                                Which type of statements do you think safe spaces protect individuals from? Tim's opinion or Jane's hypothesis? Definitely Tim's. So safe spaces do not go against the scientific method because they serve as one place where individuals can go to avoid the negative unfounded opinions of others. They are not a place where people are shielded from evidence that goes contradictory or in support of a hypothesis.

                                How will students possibly transition into the real world if they cannot have a simple discussion without their opinion being challenged? We need to not only be open to being wrong, but skeptical of being right.

                                I'll keep on using the gay community in this example. Homosexual men and women who frequent safe spaces have already experienced the harsher sides of the "real world". It is easily argued that they have experienced the harshest sides of the world in terms of sexuality. Straight people are accepted and validated everywhere - one may argue that with just sexuality in mind they are sheltered and have navigated thrugh life without ever having their desires challenged or judged. Gay men and lesbians know the spiel -often times have been challenged, humiliated and harrassed. They already know people's opinions.They already get it and have experienced the "real world". Having one safe place where they can be themselves is not some outlandish request in a world where they have to deal with much more harrassment that they would if they were straight.

                                • 6 years ago

                                  Like often happens, the concept of "safe spaces" has been perverted as to give a good concept a bad reputation.

                                  I personally have no problem just jumping down somebody's throat. I'll loquaciously speak my mind when I know I'm facing nearly unanimous opposition. But a lot of people aren't like that. A lot of people are scared of confrontation, scared of looking bad, scared of defending themselves, etc.

                                  Notice, all of those qualities have to do with expressing oneself and nothing to do with being right or wrong. Maybe they're right. Maybe their ideas and points of view are revolutionary and will someday be considered the benchmark of a just society. But we don't know unless they speak. So maybe it's not be a bad idea to give people a safe space to speak their mind and be who they are.

                                  The problem is, of course, the concept has been weaponized and policies meant to promote the exchange of ideas is instead being used to silence them. Instead of opening the floor up for discussion about sexist traditional gender roles, the concept is instead used to silence rational discussion about other forms of gender inequity. Instead of providing a space where minorities can speak their mind, it's used to categorically marginalize opposing opinion, and avoid even reasoned criticism (a la Melissa "I need some muscle over here" Click).

                                  So in part you're right, but remember a lot of these issues are due to the abuse of an otherwise good idea. The idea and goal of safe spaces is healthy, people just need to retake a solid concept away from the people abusing it for their own gain.

                                  • 6 years ago

                                    Safe spaces go against the logic of the scientific method

                                    Do we have to follow the scientific method in all things?

                                    I find it useful when I'm doing science, but it's not always the best approach to dealing with other aspects of my life.

                                    • 6 years ago

                                      Pretty short answer to this IMO - safe spaces are generally not to shield people from facts. There aren't really that many flat-earth safe spaces to speak of. Generally speaking, safe spaces give people a place to be themselves without the fear of people ostracizing them for things beyond their control. It's not like being on the receiving end of homophobic bigotry is a good thing that builds character. No one receives "too little" abuse.

                                      If you want a more concrete point in favour of safe spaces, gay-straight alliances in schools have been documented to decrease the suicide rate. So there you go - safe spaces can save lives.

                                      Edit: added link to source

                                      • 6 years ago

                                        Safe spaces are primarily meant to exclude hateful, bigoted, or legitimately upsetting ideas and speech, not just anyone who disagrees. Anywhere that is being used as a "safe space" isn't a debate stage. Like, a sexual assault support group could be a safe space because you want everyone to be able to discuss their experience without risk of being harassed or slut-shamed. Similarly, an LGBT group shouldn't have to deal with someone coming and arguing whether or not gay marriage should be legal. Is a LoL club wrong for preventing you from arguing that Dota is better? It's the same thing, just called a safe space when it's dealing with more delicate (normally gender or race related) subject matter.

                                        Now, you could argue that classrooms and the like shouldn't be safe spaces, which is reasonable. But again, a lecture isn't a debate stage. If you're being taught in a gender studies class, someone arguing with the teacher about the wage gap (whether or not they're right), is disruptive and inappropriate.

                                        Edit: Fuck white people.

                                        • 6 years ago

                                          Yes and no.

                                          Safe spaces are fine if we go back to their original purpose, which was to provide a safe environment for people to discuss their ideas without being harassed, persecuted, physically assaulted, etc. They weren't made to silence free speech, they were made for the exact opposite. Even today, a lot of those types of safe spaces still remain on campuses. I have no problem with those and I think they should be encouraged.

                                          That being said, there have been increasing number of people in recent years who have turned safe spaces into exactly what you're talking about. I completely agree those kind of safe spaces have to be intellectually challenged whenever they so arise.

                                          • 6 years ago

                                            I totally agree in principle except this:

                                            How will students possibly transition into the real world if they cannot have a simple discussion without their opinion being challenged?

                                            Honestly, in today's climate, it seems like you're coddled at all times. I think you can go your whole life now just 'telling' on people who are 'bullying' you even in the workplace and just go your whole life getting people with different opinions in trouble.

                                            • 🎤Author
                                              6 years ago

                                              Seems like a sad existence. Sort of like a lost sheep

                                            • 6 years ago

                                              It's either incredibly sad, or incredibly awesome. I mean, I'm against it, but at the same time, if your children could grow up in a world where they never got their feelings hurt and had everything they ever wanted because of technology and abundance, it doesn't seem like such a bad thing haha. It's like those future movies where there is no more anger or emotion yet one person breaks free of the shackles, but when you think about it, you're like 'wait... was that such a bad thing? That we eliminated what makes humans awful?' haha

                                            • 🎤Author
                                              6 years ago

                                              It seems what makes us awful comes from the same place that makes us empathetic, innovative, and creative.

                                          • 6 years ago

                                            I have nothing against your religious beliefs at all and I feel bad for looking through your history, but you seem to post in the sub religion a lot.

                                            Which once again is perfectly fine, but isn't that also a safe space. It is a space dedicated to the discussion about religion and it does seem a bit open to different ideas, but if I went into Christianity I would wonder if they would be as cool for divergent viewpoints and if they were I would imagine I could find a sub group of Christians who created an even different ubber Christian only focused group.

                                            If there is a super Christian group wouldn't they not be able to discuss things if atheists and people who disagreed with them just invaded their space over and over and over again.

                                            I full disclosure, I'm atheist myself and I've never spent any time on religious subs, but I'm sure they are out there.

                                            And well almost a better point, I've heard my gay friends how strangers, today, think it is okay to pray for them or to judge them because they are gay. Is a place where it is fine to be gay really a bad idea.

                                            • 🎤Author
                                              6 years ago

                                              Ive only posted once on the religion sub what are you talking about?

                                            • 🎤Author
                                              6 years ago

                                              And It is not necessarily a safe space in the sense that ideas are allowed to be challenged. Thats on of the only way to strengthen ones beliefs.

                                          • 6 years ago

                                            I went to college in the late 80s and early 90s, and have continued jumping back in off and on. I'm about to finish a masters. Safe spaces were created to help women, racial minorities, and sexual minorities have a place where they could receive help or discuss issues pertaining to them without the constant barrage of what they already were hearing every day. The kind of attitudes that get in the way of their own growth and development are things like:

                                            ---women aren't smart enough ---women who go out are asking for sex ---gays are just wrong and should be removed ---blacks aren't smart enough ---blacks only get into college because of affirmative action or sports.

                                            and the list goes on and on. These people still have to deal with that stuff the minute they leave the safe place.

                                            Now, fast forward 20+ years later from the start of the concept and we're hearing how the views of the racist, sexist, and homophobic are not receiving equal time or protection. Those people now feel marginalized instead of mainstream. They risk losing their jobs and friends if they voice their unpopular opinions.

                                            In addition, I see the safe places becoming more difficult to work with even for those who believe in those spaces. Suddenly, if your mode of talking isn't just quite right, you can be called out as unsafe and excluded. That ends up leaving only the most sensitive of people in the safe place, and a lot of people on the outside looking in.

                                            One of the things we've continuously learned over and over again throughout history is that excluding groups of people leads to discord and fighting, whereas inclusion leads to understanding.

                                            Ending the safe places puts people at risk of being subjected to the same stuff that was happening 20 years ago.

                                            Based on these points; 1) We need safe places 2) We need inclusion spaces.

                                            • 6 years ago

                                              I think the biggest thing to note here is this: all of this talk against college students and millennials in general is misguided, and is only considered because a select group of people decided to perpetuate the stereotype.

                                              Do you think that the average person is exposed to varying different viewpoints throughout their day? They aren't. Most people work and live around people with similar attitudes as they, and if they do encounter other opinions, they have no real reason to confront them, and those opinions aren't usually very thorough.

                                              Only on college campuses do you find the entire range of opinions, and you find them thoroughly fleshed out. That's because these kids care more, and go out of their way to figure out all of the details.

                                              The reason that this becomes an issue and is noticed by anyone is because of all of the differing opinions. If they weren't being challenged to begin with, it never would have became an issue. Other groups don't find this kind of challenge, so it never becomes an issue.

                                              Also, so called "safe spaces" do not go against logic. Any real debate, as in competition, is going to occur in a relatively safe space. This is so full arguments can be laid out without devolving into shouting matches.

                                              Safe spaces did not lead people to believe that the earth was flat. The misconception wasn't nurtured in "safe spaces," you just didn't speak out against the people in power. It is vaguely similar but not at all the same.

                                              It's also not "apprehensive" to need a safe space. Did OP go to college, I wonder?

                                              • 6 years ago

                                                I think you've misunderstood the point of safe spaces - they're not for discussing and debating. The idea is to allow people a place to discuss their own personal experiences with things like racism, sexual assault, abortion, etc. without having to be afraid of judgment or interrupted by someone who wants to start a debate about the topic. If people want to debate those topics, they can still do that – somewhere else.

                                                • 6 years ago

                                                  You have a fundamental misunderstanding what a safe space i. A safe space is just a place you can go to express your opinion and not be disrespected. People can still disagree with your opinion, that's fine, they just can't harass you for it. One example is that a teacher may have a safe space sticker on their door. Let's say you are in the closet, you just need to tell somebody who you are. It's just killing you, you see that sticker, you go in that teachers room and you tell them that you're gay. Or, there's a safe space sticker on the door of the room where we hold monthly debates, at the school I went to. There are tons of disagreements. That's the whole point of the club, was discussing controversial topics. Some people may have controversial opinions. However, you can express your opinion, argue your opinion, but you have to do it respectfully. This isn't the place where we're going to demonize people.

                                                  Safe spaces never have been and aren't this echochamber that you're describing. I've never seen a safe space where people just jerk off about the same idea.

                                                  • 6 years ago

                                                    I would say that a person having a safe space to retreat to can help with the anxiety of new or difficult-to-accept ideas. It can be used to hide from them, as you argue, but it can also be used maturely to deal with the emotionality of the situation, beyond merely dealing with the idea. For some people, like people with past trauma or anxiety disorders, these can be critical.

                                                    A good film can be transformative, but never averting your gaze from Netflix is brain rot. It's about how you use a safe space, not about the safe space itself.

                                                    • 6 years ago

                                                      Safe spaces go against the logic of the scientific method because they leave no room for hypotheses that offend or discomfort people.

                                                      Advance notice: I'm a Trump-supporting, SJW-disliking guy who regards most 'safe space' talk with utter contempt.

                                                      However, having some 'safe space' - some place where you can go to relax, be among people like you who aren't coming at you with arguments or insults or even general stuff that puts you out of sorts - is downright human. People need time to sort things out, to sit down and relax without being on-edge at having to deal with this or that jarring visual or argument or anything else.

                                                      This isn't to say universities or any other place is doing a good job of implementing these safe spaces. I'd say most of them suck. But the very idea of a safe space is relatively benign, so long as it's A) very limited, B) optional and C) available to everyone, rather than just to the particular favored victims of the day.

                                                      • 6 years ago

                                                        I actually went to check out a safe space at my university recently. I was incredibly skeptical at first, particularly as a white man doing a business degree. However, the safe space environment provides people to share ideas in a setting where they can be supported and assisted.

                                                        While some people thrive in conflict and pressure, others do not. There were some pretty crazy ideas thrown around, but rather than jumping down people's throats the others calmly asked them to elaborate and expand on why they thought that, which generally led to the person realising they were on the wrong path.

                                                        These safe spaces aren't the ridiculous hug boxes that they're portrayed as. They are part of a larger network of communities at universities where the point is learning, personal growth and uncovering new and improved ideas. Some people require different spaces/environments to reach their potential.

                                                        • 6 years ago

                                                          In an academic setting I think Safe Places are important where challenging basic assumptions is harmful to the learning process. It's one thing to be challenged by different views, it's another for someone to hold different views to the point it's disruptive.

                                                          The example I can think of is taking senior biology classes in college. If you're taking a 400 level Evolutionary Biology class it should be a safe place from young earth creationists.

                                                          • 6 years ago

                                                            There are two wildly different versions of "Safe Spaces". The legitimacy of the first is used to support the second.

                                                            The first version of "Safe Spaces" is legitimate. It's basic premise is that groups and clubs should be about what that group or club is about. The Bee keeping Club should be about keeping bees. It should be "safe" from invasion by the Young Republicans looking to spread their political propaganda. The Arts and Crafts club should be about arts and crafts. It should be "safe" from invasion by SJW looking to spread their political propaganda. Regardless of the group trying to meet or the group trying to invade, such invasions are wrong. (and they can get dangerous when talking about more loaded clubs like LGBT and neo-Nazi)

                                                            Then you get "Safe Spaces" that are all coloring books and puppy dogs because someone else somewhere else is saying something questionable. The idea that someone needs a "Safe Space" on west campus because 3 miles away on North campus there is a talk on gender equality from a different perspective....that's just stupid.

                                                            The version of "Safe Spaces" that says I should be able to give my presentation on relocating bee hives to the bee keeping club with out interruption by anti-abortion activists is perfectly legitimate.

                                                            • 6 years ago

                                                              There are two sides of the coin. If you're, say, a racist who wants to be able to speak racist thoughts everywhere without being tossed out, aren't you essentially demanding the entire world be a safe space for your views? That is, you'd be asking for blanket tolerance for yourself at all venues, unconditionally. This seems far more demanding and unreasonable than the demand for specific venues at specific times not being amenable to hate speech.

                                                              • 6 years ago

                                                                Safe spaces are not inherently unhealthy. Safe spaces extended to protect people from ever feeling offended are ridiculous.

                                                                There is a need for safe spaces as individuals or groups may feel threatened and benefit from an opportunity to explore their thoughts and feelings in a non-threatening or supposedly safe environment.

                                                                That safe spaces have been used as license to silence any idea that challenges, threatens or even might offend is an argument for the proper use of the idea of "safety" rather than just eliminating it altogether.

                                                                • 6 years ago

                                                                  Everyone wants a safe space where they can go without being judged.

                                                                  I think the crux of the issue lies in the question "how can a public (including online) space, be a safe space without infringing on the constitutional right to free speech?"

                                                                  • 6 years ago

                                                                    It's not hiding from them, more like taking a break from them.

                                                                    • 6 years ago

                                                                      The problem isn't safe spaces. They are valuable for many people who are struggling to cope with various nasty things that have happened to them. It is freeing to not have to worry about being judged for your reaction to, say, being raped.

                                                                      The problem is when people insist that every space should be a safe space for victims of every possible kind of trauma. That is dumb.

                                                                      • 6 years ago

                                                                        Safe spaces aren't for protecting old ideas from challenge. They're a space where those old, discredited ideas that have been refuted aren't permitted to be brought up ad nauseum.

                                                                        A geology class is going to be a safe space from flat earthers, because there is a task to be accomplished there, and that is a distraction from it.

                                                                        • 6 years ago

                                                                          There is an extreme of overprotection and another of overexposure, do you agree colleges need certain behaviour limits, and these include any activity a student can do that harms another one in a way measurable from the outside (meaning you can't claim a statement "hurt" you, it has to be something big, like laughing at your dead sibling).

                                                                          • 6 years ago

                                                                            Safe spaces are not about protecting people from offense or discomfort. They're about protecting people from harassment.

                                                                            • 6 years ago

                                                                              Does Op have any examples of the "safe spaces" they are complaining about, or is this argument based all around what they read about universities on reddit?

                                                                              • 6 years ago

                                                                                Who are you complaining about believing the earth is flat? It's never really been a common belief, especially after the Greeks.

                                                                                I go to college to learn stuff for a job, not to debate things. Unless I have lots of knowledge I'm never really going to be that useful for the scientific community at large in a debate. My opinions don't mean much.

                                                                                • 6 years ago

                                                                                  I've still never seen a "safe space" on a college campus...

                                                                                  • 6 years ago