Your “Safe Space” is the Antithesis of Liberal Progressivism
Liberal college students, known today as “millenials,” have created an aura of acceptance for those who are oft marginalized and oppressed. The creation of terms and concepts such as “trigger warning” and “safe space,” which have become popularized amongst teenagers and young adults who consider themselves to be at the forefront of change and progression here in the United States, have been used to advance the discussion of inclusiveness. Universities around the country have even implemented these concepts onto their campuses in an attempt to ensure that everyone feels safe and free to express their sexual orientation, ethnic culture, gender, religion, and other identifying characteristics. While this new age of inclusiveness and welcoming is necessary in the process of challenging systemic oppression and discrimination, some millenials have taken the idea of safe spaces to a point of hypocrisy and intolerance.
Countless viral videos have surfaced in recent years, and during the time of Donald Trump’s candidacy, of liberal students and protesters attempting to shut down or suppress the opinions of those who do not agree with their own set of beliefs and ideologies. Videos with titles such as, “Liberal Fascists Protesters,” show students yelling and acting violently towards individuals attempting to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech and expression. There have also been countless articles capturing accounts of both conservative and liberal professors, claiming that the entire mentality of safe spaces only causes detriment to the ability of future generations in becoming successful citizens and members of society. Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt of The Atlantic eloquently encapsulate the effects of this overprotection when they explain that this level of coddling has the unintended effect of ill-preparing students for positions and careers that may require interactions with those whose ideas may seem wrong or close-minded in the opinion of the sheltered thinker.
What is essential for this new generation of liberal thinkers to understand is that the world is NOT going to pamper you and constantly make sure that your feelings have not been hurt. To be clear, I am the first person to stand up to and challenge any sort of discrimination, whether it be in the form of religious bigotry, misogyny, racism, homophobia, or xenophobia; however, I will not challenge ignorant thoughts and speech by claiming that my “safe space” has been violated, and that the individual who is spewing hateful rhetoric has to cease what they are saying. Now, there is a clear distinction and fundamental difference between discriminatory speech, and violence that is based on irrationally motivated intolerance. That being said, the majority of “safe space violations” are the result of someone saying something that an individual considered to be a microagression against their beliefs or free expression of self.
What I suggest that millenials do, instead of claiming that their feelings have been hurt, is to educate themselves and gain the ability to dismantle any sort of hateful and intolerant speech through well-articulated and well-thought-out discourse. Anyone who truly believes the racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise intolerant and ignorant bullshit that they are propagating obviously has flaws in their thought process and overall way of thinking. Instead of calling foul and whining, today’s progressive youth must have the propensity to seek out such flawed reasoning, and disassemble any ridiculous argument through the vituperation of educated and intelligent responses. There is no hope in educating the unintelligent and backwards reasoning masses that pervade American society by yelling at them and claiming that you have been emotionally scarred by their words. Conversely, if you respond with logical reasoning that is supported by factual context, there is a chance that Liberal Progressivism can pose a challenge to antiquated mentalities, which are at the root of Conservatism.