[Noisebridge-discuss] Discussion: the meaning of Safe Space

Steve Phillips steve at tryingtobeawesome.com
Thu Oct 4 01:54:38 UTC 2018

A few things:

0. I am impressed with the responses thus far and extremely happy that I'm
not the only one who's been worried about the more extreme interpretations
of what a "safe space" is.

1. As an ex-philosophy major I am happy it has been pointed out that the
more extreme interpretation of a safe space -- namely as a space free from
discomfort -- is self-defeating, because that very thing causes discomfort.

2. I hadn't heard of the notion of a "Brave Space" until Naomi linked some
of us to some information explaining it.  It seems to preserve the good
(and originally intended) parts of safe spaces, particularly freedom from
harassment, without creating an environment that transforms the most
sensitive person into some sort of all-powerful dictator who can prevent
others from speaking certain (totally non-harassing) words and discussing
uncomfortable ideas.

3. 15 years ago, when many old people said they were "disturbed" or
"offended" by piercings and unconventional hair colorings, our response was
to say things like, "too bad", "that's your problem", "then don't look",
"it doesn't affect you", "stop trying to control me", and the like.  I
believe that we should have a similar response when someone says, "it makes
me uncomfortable when you say/discuss/express things like that", provided
that the discomfort wasn't caused by an expression of bigotry and is not a
form of harassment.

@Naomi Would you like to elaborate on the notion of what a Brave Space is?


On Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 6:29 PM Sean Purser-Haskell <
sean.purserhaskell at gmail.com> wrote:

> “Safe space” means to me only one thing: that the person saying it claims
>  unaccountable power to exclude others at their whim.
> - Sean
> On Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 6:16 PM Sparr <sparr0 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The existence and maintenance of a space where someone might be excluded
>> to avoid someone else's discomfort, despite not having taken any
>> wrong/bad/unreasonable/irresponsible/inconsiderate action, makes me
>> uncomfortable.
>> On Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 6:08 PM Naomi Most <pnaomi at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Does “safe space” mean “freedom from discomfort”?
>>> This discussion cannot take place on Slack because it causes discomfort.
>>> So I am asking the question here.
>>> I would like to hear from the widest variety of perspectives on this
>>> one.  It is pertinent to the community conversation we are having tomorrow
>>> at 6pm at Noisebridge.
>>> Thanks for your calm consideration.
>>> —Naomi
>>> #bravespace
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