The danger of safe spaces

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#1
Wondering if this resonates with others on here.

There's this "safe space" bug that has bitten so many of the leftist / liberal enclaves where I hang out, & I'm sorry to be a party crasher here, but I've really had a lot of problems with it. See "The Broken Teapot" which the Anarchist Library in Berkeley recently studied, regarding the nightmarish mis-use of "accountability processes." Recently I volunteered for several hours at a bike co-op in Oakland where the safe space policy demanded that we all go by transgendered pronouns & ask before touching anyone else's bike. Well, sure, in most cases you want to ask before touching someone's property, but when someone brings in their bike to have it fixed & is obviously wanting you to show them how to do that, to add this extra step of asking permission is kind of ludicrous, & can really slow down operations in a busy, understaffed bike co-op. In my opinion, safe space rules are designed to keep morbidly oversensitive people comfortable at the expense of everyone else. Safe spaces make me uncomfortable. Irony at its most irritating! A corollary irony is that many of these spaces are supposed to be coming from an anarchist mentality, & yet they end up having as many or more rules than the yuppie rules in public parks. Problem?
 

roughdraft

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#2
those two examples don't sound too horrible but I think you bring up a good general topic

1. if everyone is being called 'they' (anyone, correct me if I'm wrong) then this includes 'he' and 'she' and therefore would eliminate the possibility of offending anyone (?) - this is my theory

2. Asking before touching the bike...I dunno if I brought my bike in and someone doesn't look me in the face and acknowledge me before touching it let alone wheeling it off to 'inspect' or whatever....could be potentially a grimy move

also (I don't know shit about anarchy) - but if I am right in what I *think*....- it means basically what your signature says "create a new order rendering the old one obsolete" and so this 'safe space' is merely one specimen of an 'anarchist space' of which there are...a fukton of theoretical types
 
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tony longshanks
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#3
Yeah, there's a lot of different seemingly contradictory views & things bumping & grinding around here in the ideosphere.
 

roughdraft

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#4
i haven't had the pleasure of visiting one of these....safe spaces...so far as I've been aware

but i feel like most places and situations kinda have unspoken rules *shrug* and when they're spoken it can be kinda awkward

for example... I actually work in public parks and have to enforce certain rules....yeh there's many I don't enforce because 'bullshit' but when it comes to the few I really feel the need to.... you know damn well there's a lot of blowback :rolleyes: because everybody I speak to is most definitely the person not being irresponsible....'never would my dog ever bite anyone they don't NEED to be on a leash'.....'never would I ever dump hot coals in the sand after grilling on the beach and the picnic area is full blah blah blah blah'......'well there's no sign that says <this/that> so you need to put a sign up I know you're just doing your job but....' aite

I think safe spaces are essentially futile but I love the idea of everyone working in harmony ::shy::

the idea seems to be usually the only thing that exists though ::soapbox::
 
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#5
i have done some volunteering at bike shops and as a cis str8 white-lookin dude, who does not generally embrace lefty/anarcho pc stuff, (fwiw) i agre that there is a historic, chronic issue of macho behavior in mechanic culture. i have been places that had policies like this because even if it's unconscious or "well-meaning", even if he's "radical" it's often the case that dudes like me (demographically) are more inclined, if a non-male person comes in to ask something, to just be like "oh let me show you" and grab the bike or tool. not unlike how most white americans will say they're not racist but if you study their behavior you will find bias and racism anyway; none which should surprise anyone considering what a racist, sexist society we live in.

it may seem like not a big deal to you, but then maybe you should think about that in itself. if it's an expectation that's been put forth for you to be part of that space, then clearly some people felt strongly enough to put it out there, and maybe it's enough that it makes other people who might not have thought about it, think about how it might feel to be in someone else's shoes....yknow? i mean did someone come down on you super hard about the rules you're talking about ? (btw - by 'transgender' do you mean gender-neutral?)

i'm not trying to put you on blast but when i saw the thread title i thought it was going to be about one of those things where someone got 86ed or jumped because someone said he was friends with some dude that someone said might have done something bad somewhere etc etc....that shit can get way out of hand. but really, what's the "danger" here? that someone asked you think twice about how you talk and act? sorry if im missing something here because i am more sympathetic than you might realize to your general point and i've been in your shoes. but i learned, which was hard because my first instinct was to be embarrassed, defensive and stubborn. but i learned to reexamine my assumptions when someone brings up something about privileged behavior instead of calling them stuff like "irritating", "morbidly over-sensitive" and "ludicrous". i don't think anarchy is meant to be some "no rulez man" 4chan bs, it's about creating times and places that aren't smothered in the same oppression that's all around us. and that gets messy.
 

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#6
Some perhaps unsavory opinions... Anarchy is unrealistic and just not in our nature as animals. No rules doesn't make sense to me when there's at least one rule (spoken or unspoken) in like every community and that rule being "don't be an asshole". I agree that a bunch of rules in an "anarchist" space doesn't make sense.

Also, if by "transgendered" pronouns you mean they/them/their, those are called gender neutral pronouns. If u want an explanation on why gender neutral pronouns are different than "trans" pronouns: He and she could be considered "trans" pronouns because someone could be a trans man or woman that goes by he or she pronouns. Some people who are trans go by they, but u could use they for a cis person as well (for example if u don't know someone's preferred pronouns already like that bike Co op wants u to do).
I think using "they" if u don't know someone is a really cool idea and try to implement it in my life. But... The idea of there being a "rule"??? Idk, not my cup of tea. That kind of stuff is what makes a lot of people roll their eyes at the trans community. As a trans person, I never expect anyone to ask my pronouns or just know all the "rules" of how to tip toe around my feelings. Someone calls me "she" and all I gotta do is either say "I'm a dude, call me 'he'." Or just decide that situation isn't worth my energy. Like if it's a cashier. Why the fuck would I care what they think of me?
Being trans is out of the norm and that's cool with me, can't expect every person to unlearn how we were all raised and taught to perceive gender. As long as they're not a dick when told what someone's pronouns are and TRULY try to respect that, why police them not getting it right the first time??
Safe spaces are weird, I agree. I don't think they're a bad idea but while I agree people should open up and learn more about diversity, I also think minorities like myself should build a thicker skin so when (inevitably) someone calls them the wrong gender, they aren't devastated. Like why let your whole day be ruined just bc someone didn't know a detail about u upon meeting u, y'know?

But back on the bike co op pronoun rules... They wanted the employees to GO BY they/them pronouns??
 

roughdraft

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#8
i gotta go back on one thing i said

i think a safe space *could* be useful **with purpose** if it's temporary and for a specific...bigotry-prevention-related....discussion

like i dont know let's call whatever demographic 'y'. several members that belong to that demographic gather to discuss what goes on as being a 'y' in a world maybe with more privelige in the hands of say..x's and z's.

realistically i dont think most people are smart enough to recognize that a safe space shouldn't be a fortress rather a fleeting type of gathering - and i think more than likely 'y' just starts talkin shit on x and z and is pleased to be in their own space - although clearly that's not 100% granted, an intelligent and productive convo should happen somewhere at sometime. and maybe a "safe space" could help facilitate that

as for a bike shop, coffee shop, etc i think @croc made some good points yknow, what's wrong with being real? no one gets constantly respected in this world. I've been called slurs in public and private, i can handle it by ignoring the person or addressing it depending on circumstances.
 

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#9
Some perhaps unsavory opinions... Anarchy is unrealistic and just not in our nature as animals. No rules doesn't make sense to me when there's at least one rule (spoken or unspoken) in like every community and that rule being "don't be an asshole". I agree that a bunch of rules in an "anarchist" space doesn't make sense.
Common misconception. Anarchy doesn't mean no rules, anarchy means a lack of rulers.
 
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#10
no one gets constantly respected in this world. I've been called slurs in public and private, i can handle it by ignoring the person or addressing it depending on circumstances.
i truly am not trying to go all sjw on everyone but...do you really, truly think that your experience is representative of everyone's, or that it should be the yardstick for everyone else's experiences? if so, where did you get that idea? this borderline reads like you think radical spaces should tolerate abusive language.

and i truly do see flaws with safe spaces philosophy and its policing of conflict. it's not a good solution by itself, and i don't think it's meant to be, which is why it can go way wrong - it's the kind of thing petty leftist bureaucrats love to seize on. it's meant to be part of a larger process of changing attitudes and power dynamics, but unfortunately the main attitude/dynamic i seem to see coming up when people criticize them is the standard attitude of the most socially privileged people getting peeved that they're being challenged when they're not used to it, and have been conditioned to expect that they should be able to go wherever and do and say whatever they want. i know, it's a trip right? this whole society is like one big safe space for straight white cis-dudes and that 's what's awful about it. down with safe spaces, indeed, the biggest ones first.
 

roughdraft

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#11
unfortunately the main attitude/dynamic i seem to see coming up when people criticize them is the standard attitude of the most socially privileged people getting peeved that they're being challenged when they're not used to it, and have been conditioned to expect that they should be able to go wherever and do and say whatever they want. i know, it's a trip right? this whole society is like one big safe space for straight white cis-dudes and that 's what's awful about it. down with safe spaces, indeed, the biggest ones first.
quoted part is very interesting i like it. you're talking some real good insight don't worry about checking for if anyone thinks yr 'goin sjw'

I'll freely admit i have a ton of privilege as a "fucking white male" and regardless of my quirks, or queer ways if you will, i seem to be able to fit in a lot of normie places.

i don't think anyone *should* tolerate abusive language in a radical space. Even if i choose to not raise issue in public or wherever that isn't "safe" - for example after being hounded and harrassed and called a 'faggot' by some nutcase - i still recognize i have a mountain of privilege and that it would be unfair to tell someone without such privilege to "get like me and just deal with it" I'm not about that at all. it's privilege in itself that i can bear the shit i have to deal with... >_>

I'll get back to you but seriously don't hold back i think this is an interesting convo
 
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#12
Yeah uh there are legit criticisms to be made of 'safe space' culture - especially how *anyone* can wind up claim victimhood regardless of how much power they actually have, ala Blue Lives bs, or use a display of "fragility" to demonize or silence others, like "Against Innocence" "The Problem With Privilege" and "Conflict Is Not Abuse" all speak to this in pretty good ways - but this framing kind of just seems whiny about nothing / about people being tired of being harassed.
Lol and "making people go by transgender pronouns" isn't a thing that ever happens in reality but good try.
Did they also jump out of a Down With Cis bus to chase you with bats? XD
 
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#13
> Anarchy is unrealistic and just not in our nature as animals.

Thinking back, did you get government approval for your most recent breakfast choice (pancakes or eggs), bedpartner, or interstate travel plan?

If not, did you use force to do those things, or injure someone/something else?

My guess is that you are capable of doing those things without coercing others or taking their stuff. Expand the concept from there.


> No rules doesn't make sense

Anarchy doesn't mean "no rules". It means no hierarchy or leadership. Anarchists can join together in intentional communities with shared values.
 
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#14
This thread, or at least the initial post, reminds me of the backlash against "pc hysteria" that permeated the punk and crust scene in the late 1990s...

Incidentally, it also reminds me of the "kill the man who questions" song "your backlash against PC hysteria is a fucking joke"

*I couldn't find a YouTube video of this song so I had to settle for just the lyrics. ...a d they Say you and find anything online.

kill the man who questions - your backlash against PC hysteria is a fucking joke:
Hard up for an excuse. desperate for a point of view. shouting loud, you say your tongue's been crucified. so blame a liberal hysteria nationwide. you're a victim, awwwe. or so you'd like us to believe. but your mouth's bound no tighter than your narrow mind. you're just so frustrated without your due sympathy. so wage a war against the pc who restrict your freedom. the rights of the people hinge on calling other people pussies. what a blow to your manhood. who wears the pants anymore, when you can't even yell bitch in a crowded theater. my response, "fuck you." but you're not about to give those stuffy fags the satisfaction of preventing you from expressing your opinion. so align yourself with the other brilliant minds, fighting hard for your right to belittle the marginalized. but the real tragedy i'm pointing out in you situation has to do with the fact that your enemy is something you've imagined. just something you created to distract you from your own lack of originality. happy to keep your head buried in the toilet. getting angry when someone decides to slam the seat down. suffering from a yawning void in your personality, the total lack of any original or progressive thought. you've managed to target the same victims as the authorities you'd wish to smash. pointing your finger at something that just isn't there. riding an empty movement and buying into the stupidest backlash there ever was. so the next time you try to build up your punk rock image by throwing some cowardly words at a pc fascism remember, you're just exposing your lack of intelligence. you're not censored. you have nothing to say

Back to the topic at hand, I think that the majority of social issues are the result of people not knowing his to treat one another, and if some individuals are making an effort to improve the manner in which we treat one another than I'm all for it...

I am an anarchist, however, my interpretation of anarchism boils down to "you should be able to do what ever you want so long as you are not hurting, victimizing, or bothering anybody else"
 
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#15
Some perhaps unsavory opinions... Anarchy is unrealistic and just not in our nature as animals. No rules doesn't make sense to me when there's at least one rule (spoken or unspoken) in like every community and that rule being "don't be an asshole". I agree that a bunch of rules in an "anarchist" space doesn't make sense.

Also, if by "transgendered" pronouns you mean they/them/their, those are called gender neutral pronouns. If u want an explanation on why gender neutral pronouns are different than "trans" pronouns: He and she could be considered "trans" pronouns because someone could be a trans man or woman that goes by he or she pronouns. Some people who are trans go by they, but u could use they for a cis person as well (for example if u don't know someone's preferred pronouns already like that bike Co op wants u to do).
I think using "they" if u don't know someone is a really cool idea and try to implement it in my life. But... The idea of there being a "rule"??? Idk, not my cup of tea. That kind of stuff is what makes a lot of people roll their eyes at the trans community. As a trans person, I never expect anyone to ask my pronouns or just know all the "rules" of how to tip toe around my feelings. Someone calls me "she" and all I gotta do is either say "I'm a dude, call me 'he'." Or just decide that situation isn't worth my energy. Like if it's a cashier. Why the fuck would I care what they think of me?
Being trans is out of the norm and that's cool with me, can't expect every person to unlearn how we were all raised and taught to perceive gender. As long as they're not a dick when told what someone's pronouns are and TRULY try to respect that, why police them not getting it right the first time??
Safe spaces are weird, I agree. I don't think they're a bad idea but while I agree people should open up and learn more about diversity, I also think minorities like myself should build a thicker skin so when (inevitably) someone calls them the wrong gender, they aren't devastated. Like why let your whole day be ruined just bc someone didn't know a detail about u upon meeting u, y'know?

But back on the bike co op pronoun rules... They wanted the employees to GO BY they/them pronouns??
Anarchy is not in our nature as animals? Government is a human cultural artifact, anarchism IS our nature animals.
 

croc

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#16
Anarchy is not in our nature as animals? Government is a human cultural artifact, anarchism IS our nature animals.

Government as we know it is, but animals often have social groups that involve a hierarchy. Or at the least, an alfa male aka leader/dominant one in control. Primates, dogs, rats, mice, birds, ants, bees, fish, dolphins, pigs, etc (I could continue this list for a while) all have a hierarchy due to instincts.
Considering we're social animals, it makes sense for a hierarchy to be in our animalistic nature. Not that I think it's a good idea, just mentioning that that's the pattern of nature whether we like it or not. Hierarchy is actually natural whether it's fair or "just" or not.
While saying that, I do think people who want to challenge that concept should and see if it works. My guess is for humans as a whole it wouldn't, but if a group of people are dedicated enough that it could.
 

croc

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#17
@Dameon @mouse

Yall taught me something new, so thank u for that. Understanding anarchy in that way, I don't think it's unrealistic. Just not something that would work for most people ie "normies"
 

eli

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#18
Common misconception. Anarchy doesn't mean no rules, anarchy means a lack of rulers.
Yep exactly. It comes from an archos meaning without rulers. It's about the absence of heirarchy, not the absence of structure or rules. Fun fact, the circle around the A is an O that stands for Order :) Just posting as a reply to your reply for convenience sake.
 

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