Sunday, November 15, 2015

Safe space for me but not for thee

Ken White from Popehat has a great two-part post on safe spaces, pro and con:
That's why I didn't flip out last week when someone announced they were building "Pillowfort," a friendlier version of the social media site Tumblr. The announcement was met with swift jeers from the usual suspects. Folks derided the idea of a social media site that, even more than the famously left-dominated Tumblr, lets you limit with whom you interact and control who sees your content. But why? Pillowfort would be self-selecting. Nobody goes into the fort who doesn't want to be there. It's not like somebody is wandering onto your social media account and building a fort around you and telling you how you can interact with others. Pillowfort represents something that conservatives used to support in other circumstances: a private club, run by its own rules, with admission limited as its members see fit. If I'm not a member of the club, how its members regulate discourse within it is of little interest to me. Similarly, though organized Twitter blocklists are troublesome to some people, they don't bother me. They, too, are an application of freedom of association. Do I think some lists are organized around silly principles? Sure. But people are like that. Freedom of association is the right to organize ourselves in silly ways.
And on the recent controversy at Mizzou where a reported was denied his right to film the protest, White said:
The "parameters" in question were the public university's quad, one of the most quintessentially public spaces in American law and tradition. This sentiment — that students could take over a public space, use it to express their views on a public issue, and shut other views out of it in the name of emotional safety — was vigorously enforced by a crowd threatening a photographer and a communications professor shouting for "muscle" to help her expel media.