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Safe Space: white fantasy?

Safe Space: white fantasy?

PJH: On twitter, you (depressingly, brilliantly) wrote, “I’ve never glimpsed safe teaching (and learning) space. It is a white fantasy that harms.” I’m wonder­ing if you could expand on that as it pertains to the Black student in Canada? How does such a vexed space inform your own pedagogical practice? 

KM: Yes. I wonder a lot about why the classroom should be safe. It isn’t safe. I am not sure what safe learning looks like because the kinds of questions that need to be (and are) asked, across a range of disciplines and interdisci­plines, necessarily attend to violence and sadness and the struggle for life. How could teaching narratives of sadness ever, under any circumstances, be safe!? And doubled onto this: which black or other marginalized fac­ulty is safe in the academy, ever? Who are these safe people? Where are they? But there is also, on top of this all, an underlying discourse, one that emerges out of feminism and other “identity” discourses, that assumes that the classroom should be safe. This kind of “safe space” thinking sometimes includes statements on course outlines about respect for diversity and how the class (faculty? students?) will not tolerate inappropriate behavior: rac­ism, homophobia, sexism, ableism. This kind of hate-prevention is a fantasy to me. It is a fantasy that replicates, rather than undoes, systems of injus­tice because it assumes, first, that teaching about anti-colonialism or sexism or homophobia can be safe (which is an injustice to those who have lived and live injustice!), second, that learning about anti-colonialism or sexism or homophobia is safe, easy, comfortable, and, third, that silencing and/or removing ‘bad’ and ‘intolerant’ students dismantles systems of injustice. Privileged students leave these safe spaces with transparently knowable op­pressed identities safely tucked in their back pockets and a lesson on how to be aggressively and benevolently silent. The only people harmed in this pro­cess are students of colour, faculty of colour, and those who are the victims of potential yet unspoken intolerance. I call this a white fantasy because, at least for me, only someone with racial privilege would assume that the classroom could be a site of safety! This kind of privileged person sees the classroom as, a priori, safe, and a space that is tainted by dangerous subject matters (race) and unruly (intolerant) students.

 

Image on Facebook by Walla2chick (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Posted by Ann Fontaine

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Emily Windsor

LITERAL and absolute: Comments . . . we deem in any way to to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted, unquote.

Turn it over: the ONLY comments that are allowed to stand, here, are those which PROMOTE the “progressive” viewpoint.

Christians are not welcome here who are Charismatic, Conservative or Anabaptist. Scriptural citations are not allowed that disagree with the doctrine and dogma of political-correctness.

I don’t prophecy and I don’t know who the anti-Christ is or argue with people about a pretrib rapture, gender issues in ministry or political processes in the Church.

However, I have a problem with it when I can’t talk about Church History, focus of leadership, meta-physical concepts, faith crimes or what constitutes “separation from the world,” without being summarily censored without a comment or reason.

This is MY Church, I am a validated, interested, motivated Episcopalean; and if moderators here think I’m just going to go away into the night, you have another thought coming.

In faith and devotion to our Almighty God, His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit–

Emily

Theodore William Johnson

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Please give us more complete summaries of each article. Most do not adequately describe the article. Many do not even provide a hint regarding the article’s actual subject matter. One is not able efficiently to scan the items posted since the most recent visit to decide which to take the time to read. On the other hand, too much information is unwieldy and fails to utilize the real advantages of the blog format for multiple postings each day. The New York Times seems to have achieved a good balance in its daily newsletter news summary: each article has a headline (usually the same as the one on the complete article) and a one or two sentence summary that is not usually the first paragraph of the complete article, but a paraphrase of key sentences from the actual article. It works well guiding which articles to select to for more thorough reading

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