Safe spaces are, as is commonly agreed, a space that people can feel comfortable in. There they are under no threat of harassment, bias, or conflict. These places are commonly found on college campuses and in schools, and often aim to protect people commonly targeted by hateful words, such as minorities, victims of sexual assault, and transgender people. The safe space itself is not bad—in fact, it’s a pretty great invention in our century. Feeling safe is never something that anyone should take lightly, because many people face a reality in which they constantly do not feel safe.
However, there is a pattern of safe spaces taking residence in highly liberal areas. Safe spaces are commonly found on college campuses, which are typically known for their liberal attendees and movements that are fostered there. And in these highly liberalized and millennial-packed areas, sometimes safe spaces have come to mean different things than they initially did. Instead of a safe space being a place for people to be harbored safely, like victims of assault and hate crimes and speech, they have more commonly become areas where liberals are safe form contrary views.
While these safe spaces are a powerful and important part of creating a new culture where hate speech is not protected, they also pose some barriers to the creation of this desired future. There’s a reason that many were shocked by the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election—most people were not reading the signs, because from where they stood, there were no signs. Especially on college campuses, where people with controversial ideas may not feel safe to voice their opinions, many voices are overlooked. Instead, we frame the opposition as a bunch of country hicks who are not politically correct.
The first thing we have to do to move forward is to realize that a safe space is that—a safe space. The thing is, it is not only a safe space for individuals, but ideas. While derogatory comments should not be made, people should also not feel like they should hide their own feelings about how our government should be run, especially since they can vote that way anyway. It is much more effective to have intelligent conversations with the people who oppose you than to sling mud at them and call them uneducated.
So there is a slight myth about safe spaces. While they are important, they are not a big part of moving this world forward. Hopefully, if these conversations work the way they should, in the future there will be no need for safe spaces because through discussion people have come to understand how others feel. An increased amount of people who are aware of the struggles of the other side is a goal that should be met. After this November, it should be obvious that nobody can do this alone. To heal our nation from its divide and protect all citizens, we need real forums to have real and meaningful discussions. Debates for politicians do not count; politicians dodge questions left and right for support. It is the voters who really make America and make our culture what it is, and it is those voters who need to talk with the people they disagree with. That is the only way that we can make our nation an ideological whole again.