A lot of times people presume that because I’m a comedian I loathe political correctness. I can’t speak for every yukster, but for me, it’s less an issue about political correctness and more an issue about “knowing your audience” and being sensitive to the context in which you’re speaking. It’s not harmful to comedy to know that racist jokes are bad, but it is harmful to assume that any discussion of race within comedy is, see my point?
So while I think to the concept of safe spaces in the real world is something you just can’t attain, I don’t see what the issue with safe spaces in academia are. Safe spaces are fine as long as they aren’t used to quell or silence dissenting opinion. The intent of a safe space is to keep someone from being bombarded or confronted with antagonizing language, not from opposing views. Unsurprisingly, conservatives mock and decry safe spaces, but that’s because they fundamentally don’t understand their intent, and then they overreact to some sad group of college kids overuse of them.
They think that safe spaces are just code for “you have to be a liberal.” In point of fact, they’re code for, “you can’t call me a nigger or a faggot here.” If it seems like safe spaces are an encroachment on free speech, well they kinda are. But we encroach on free speech out of kindness of spirit all the time in polite society, so no, it’s not some sinister plot by liberals to create “safe spaces” where we can drown out conservative voices. If a liberal uses it that way, they’re being a fascist as much as anyone else who would try to silence dissent is.
But the notion that conservatives don’t “do” safe spaces is laughable. Their flagship “news” network is a prime example of what safe spaces look like to them. Fox News is the ultimate, pluperfect safe space because it was designed intentionally as alternative to the mainstream media. It was launched as a safe haven for conservative views.
I know this because I was in a deeply conservative home growing up, and I was of a very aware age when Fox News was launched. I remember conservatives jumping for joy that they finally had a network where pesky fact checkers wouldn’t demand evidence for their lofty claims that tax cuts for the rich helped the poor, or that black people were just more violent because they were lazy because of welfare. In Fox News, conservatives had a truly safe space, from the very beginning, to be as conservative as they want to be.
And the best part is that they are every bit as closed-off and protective of their safe space as they claim that liberals are of theirs. Sure, they present an opposing liberal view, from one or two token liberals. But they always make sure to put them in a position to be ganged-up on and condescended to. That’s when they actually go through the motions of having opposing views on. But do yourself a favor and if you can stomach it — watch Fox News for a few hours during the middle of the day and count how often they present a liberal point of view. I’m not saying MSNBC doesn’t do the opposite from the left, but we’re talking about the hypocrisy of making fun of safe spaces, and liberals don’t tend to do that.
It’s not just Fox News either. They have their online news sources like The Blaze and Allen B. West’s adware infested intellectual AIDS that he has morons write for him on his website. They have conservative talk radio where you have largely the same format: a loud and angry person shouts and spouts conservative viewpoints and every so often beats up on a liberal guest or caller, but it’s never a real back and forth, and liberal ideas are never really respected enough to be debated; just mocked and dismissed.
So the next time a conservative accuses you of needing a safe space, just laugh at them. When they ask you why you’re laughing, tell them their safe space is twenty years old. Or you know, the right age to be a millennial. Just make sure you have enough tissues on hand to dry their angry, rage-filled tears.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.