Why I'm Tired Of Hearing About Safe Spaces

Why I'm Tired Of Hearing About Safe Spaces

Nowadays it seems like everything you do or say may offend someone anyway—intentional or not.
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In recent months, the topic of "safe spaces" has come up, and many millennials question whether colleges should provide said spaces for students. Safe spaces are essentially a certain space where people can feel comfortable and not be judged, regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender identity, disability, culture or religion. My issue with safe spaces is not because I believe it is unrealistic, I just believe that there are some people who take advantage of what a safe space is, which ruins it for others.

The debate for safe spaces faces a lot of negative backlash—the main concern being that it censors your freedom of speech. For instance earlier this year, Emory University came under fire because students found "Trump 2016" written in chalk around campus "triggering" and they believed it was threatening to their community, which is supposed to be a safe space. Now, I'm not a fan of Donald Trump at all, but when I see his name in chalk around USF's campus I just keep walking to class and minding my business because it is in no way harming me or my ability to function because a Presidential candidate's name is on the sidewalk. However, that is the issue of the term safe space being taken advantage of. Additionally, it is a college campus that is brewing with different beliefs, so to silence someones political stance because their candidate is unfavorable to you is undermining the reason you attend college in the first place.

Safe spaces are extremely helpful when they are used properly. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are probably the most well-known example of safe spaces. That space is used to surround people with others who have battled through similar things in life so that they can all help each other to achieve the end goal of sobriety and happiness. LGBTQ+ groups are also safe spaces where members and allies of the LGBTQIA community can be together in unity and feel none of the pressure or anxiety that one might usually experience, especially by being a part of that specific community.

Extracurricular groups used for safe spaces are completely fine. However, colleges themselves are not to be considered such. In college lectures, it isn't uncommon for a professor to have a trigger warning before discussing topics that may cause other students in the class to feel uncomfortable. I feel that there is no issue with this, because you never know what someone has been through and what might trigger flashbacks especially with victims of sexual assaults or veterans with PTSD. But to expect a professor to not teach a specific topic altogether because it may offend a few people is an asinine way to think; if it were not important or relevant to the course (or your major) do you really believe your professor would be wasting their breath on it?

Nowadays it seems that everything you do or say may offend someone anyway—intentional or not. Begging for a safe space to hide from opinions that are the opposite of yours is counter-productive. Seeking a safe space in a world where being "accepted" does not seem to apply to you is productive. Everyone in America has the right to free speech, whether you like what they say or not. If you don't agree with them, don't listen. If you see something written that you don't agree with, ignore it. At the end of the day, it is a minuscule disagreement and there are people out there that actually use safe spaces in order to grow physically, emotionally and mentally. They don't use safe spaces to hide from the words of others because they use the words of others to strengthen them as human beings. The world is full of different opinions—offer yours, but don't hide from those who disagree.

Cover Image Credit: Semipartisansam

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I'm A Christian And I Have A Tattoo

Stop judging me for it.
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Like most people, I turned 18 years old during the course of my senior year of high school.

I'll never forget the months prior to my birthday, though, because I spent hours making a decision that would be with me forever, the decision of where I would go to get my first tattoo and where that tattoo would go, and of course I spent a lot of time deciding on the font, the colors, and all of the other aspects of the tattoo I wanted.

Throughout this time, two things stood firm 1) the fact that I was going to get a tattoo, and 2) the six letter name that it would consist of.

Now, three years later, I'm 21 years old and I still get the occasional dirty look at church on Sunday or in line at Walmart, and more often than not this look is accompanied by the following words: “Why would you do that to your body when God says not to?"

A few weeks ago at a new church, a woman came up to me and said, “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you have that blasphemous thing on your foot?", I simply smiled at her and said: “God bless you, have a good week." I let it roll off of my back, I've spent the past three years letting it “roll off of my back"… but I think it's time that I speak up.

When I was 8 years old, I lost my sister.

She passed away, after suffering from Childhood Cancer for a great deal of my childhood. Growing up, she had always been my best friend, and going through life after she passed was hard because I felt like even though I knew she was with me, I didn't have something to visually tribute to her – a way to memorialize her.

I, being a Christian and believing in Heaven, wanted to show my sister who was looking down on me that even though she was gone – she could still walk with me every day. I wanted it for me, for her. I wanted to have that connection, for her to always be a part of who I am on the outside – just as much as she is a part of who I am on the inside.

After getting my tattoo, I faced a lot of negativity. I would have Leviticus 19:28 thrown in my face more times than I cared to mention. I would be frowned on by various friends, and even some family. I was told a few times that markings on my body would send me to hell – that was my personal favorite.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:28

The more I heard these things, the more I wanted to scream. I didn't though. I didn't let the harsh things said about me and my choice change the love I have for the Lord, for my sister, or for the new precious memento on my left foot. I began to study my Bible more, and when I came to the verse that had been thrown in my face many times before – I came to a realization.

Reading the verses surrounding verse 28, I realized that God was speaking to the covenant people of Israel. He was warning them to stay away from the religious ways of the people surrounding them. Verse 28 wasn't directed to what we, in today's society, see as tattoos – it was meant in the context of the cultic practice of marking one's self in the realm of cultic worship.

26 "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28 'You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. 29 'Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30 'You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD. 31 'Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:26–31

The more I have studied my Bible over the past few years, the more I pity those who rely on one verse in the Old Testament to judge and degrade those, like myself, who made the decision to get a tattoo for whatever reason they may have for doing so.

This is because, you see, in the New Testament it is said that believers are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament – if we were, there would be no shellfish or pork on the menus of various Christian homes. While some see tattoos as a modification of God's creation, it could also be argued that pierced ears, haircuts, braces, or even fixing a cleft lip are no different.

24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
Galatians 3:24-25

In Galatians, we read that the Old Testament law was created to lead people to Jesus. However, we know that Jesus has come and died on the cross for our sins. He has saved us, therefore we are no longer held to this law in order to have a relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Him comes from believing that Jesus came to Earth to die on a cross for our sins, and repenting of our sins – accepting Jesus as our Savior.

I am a Christian, I have a relationship with the Lord that is stronger than it has ever been, and - I HAVE A TATTOO.

I have a beautiful memento on my left foot that reminds me that my sister walks with me through every day of my life. She walked with me down the red carpet at my senior prom, she walked with me across the stage the day I graduated from high school, and she continues to be with me throughout every important moment of my life.

My tattoo is beautiful. My tattoo reminds me that I am never alone. My tattoo is perfect.

Stop judging me for it.

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Johnson

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Unpopular Opinion, But President Trump Actually IS Helping Americans, Just Not How You Think

President Trump may not be the most liked president, but I have to give credit where credit is due.

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I don't follow politics as closely as I'd like to these days so I may not know EVERYTHING (good and bad) President Trump has done. However, one thing has become more and more clear to me from the moment he was elected President: Trump stirs up raw honesty in people. For those of you screaming at your screen right now, stay with me. I promise this isn't as far-fetched as it may seem.

I count myself among the lucky biracial kids — I'm Black and Hispanic — in that I did not experience much racism in my life. Maybe it's where I grew up or maybe it's because my mom showed me how to avoid it by teaching me to "act" accordingly. She told me people expect me to fail and that I have to do my best to not only paint my family in the best light but also my race. This was something I just accepted back then. It wasn't until recently that I realized how horrible it was that she had to tell me that.

In this day and age when we've had a Black president and we have countless minorities in all kinds of professions, my mother still had to make sure I was always on my best behavior so that people will treat me the same as my white peers. And I just accepted that.

I feel like I was not alone in my acceptance. Sure, there were instances of publicized racism, but I don't recall anything like the horrid hate crimes we are hearing about today. According to CNN, hate crimes have increased since the 2016 election. This may be a correlation without causation kind of situation, but I'm pretty darn sure this increase in public hate is due to President Trump winning the election.

Notice that I said PUBLIC hate. Let that sink in. PUBLIC hate as in public displays of hate. This stuff doesn't just happen overnight. Things might have seemed better before because people just kept everything on the down low. All the hate was hushed, swept under the rug. Once it became unacceptable to treat minorities with inhumane hate and women like they were less than men, people didn't just stop doing it.

They just did it privately. And in my opinion, that's worse.

See when Trump says things like pregnancy is an inconvenience for business and there won't be another black President for generations because he thought Obama did such a poor job, it hits you in the gut with how blatant these statements are. There is no hinting or talking around the bush. He says what he says and, unless he regrets it and denies it later, he doesn't take it back.

So, the fact that he was elected having said such statements shows that we as a country have some work to do. It's a problem that a majority of the nation elected a man that said pregnancy is an inconvenience for business. It's a problem that America elected a man that implies all Black people are the same because he didn't like the way Obama ran the country so therefore there won't be another Black president. That's a really big problem! But thanks to President Trump, now we can SEE the problem.

In my opinion, we should take Trump and his crass words and use them to start a conversation. And not one of those I'm-going-into-this-knowing-I'm-right kind of conversations but one free of judgment so that both sides feel safe to express their perspectives and feelings and both sides leave feeling heard and understood. Only then will we be able to make America great again.

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https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj6UVyFAZTO/?taken-by=realdonaldtrump

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