After the election of Donald Trump as our next POTUS, safe spaces were organized nationwide on university campuses. I heard very little about these safe spaces, and upon hearing about them, I didn’t read much more into them. There are reasons for this, I admint, and it is because I fall into three categories that already make me safe (pre- and especially post-election):
Recently, I was exposed to someone that fell into all three of these categories who showed anger and disgust at the idea of these safe spaces forming, and that professors that had exams scheduled post-election day were giving some students a few days to recover before taking the exam. He went as far as to mock those who may desire such a space, and even brought his daughters into it, saying how they won’t be getting safe spaces, and how they’ll need to accept the world as it is.
Anger. Disgust. Mocking.
All over something that has absolutely no affect on his life as a white, male, heterosexual whatsoever.
As a white person, I will never understand the psychological effect that racism has on a non-white person. No matter how much I educate myself about it, nor how much I try and empathize with the non-white community, I will never fully be able to empathize. It is impossible.
This is my white privilege.
As a male, I will never be able to truly understand the feeling of being preyed upon. I can only sympathize. I can only begin to imagine the fear that is felt when a non-male is all alone and there is an unknown, larger, stronger, male presence nearby. I can only begin to imagine what it is like to be disrespected constantly, gawked at, verbally assaulted, sexually assaulted, and put into a class where there are all of these expectations that I’m supposed to live up to.
This is my male privilege.
As a heterosexual, I will not fully comprehend the inherent attraction to the same sex, or the psychological effects that has being raised up in a community that looked upon such acts as taboo. When I go places, with my wife by my side, I will not be stared at or feel the discrimination and disgust from those who do not agree with my heterosexual lifestyle.
This is my heterosexual privilege.
With all of these privileges, I find it disgraceful that someone with the same privileges gets angry and disgusted when those without these privileges want to find someplace safe. It can only be the case that their manhood is being questioned, or perhaps their anger is compensating for something else that isn’t so pronounced.
If I ever witnessed some males saying something like, “let’s grab her by the pussy” with regards to any number of females in the vicinity, I would interject and try my best to create a safe space.
It doesn’t matter who the president is,what he behaves like, or what he does or does not condemn. I wouldn’t chalk behavior like that described above up to the “real world,” the “world we live in,” or simple “locker room talk,” because this isn’t the kind of America that I would want. The America that I want and would vote for is the kind where safe spaces would become a thing of the past.
One thought on “Safe Spaces”
Great post. I think this comes to simply remembering that there are life experiences different from your own, and they are as valid as yours. As a fellow white male heterosexual, I have to remind myself that a lot of the systems I interact with are set up for my success. Most people do not have this privilege, and the least I can do is be aware of it.