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Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

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Old 05-11-17, 05:21 PM   #26
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

White people have it so tough these days
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Old 05-11-17, 05:51 PM   #27
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
White people have it so tough these days
You're telling me, especially after 8 years of oppression under Obama.
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Old 05-14-17, 09:08 AM   #28
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

Any group that wants to hold any legal event has that right.

I do wonder about this statement:

"It's important for black students to have a safe space to celebrate their unique challenges with their families. And it's important for us to have a space to educate others who may not have had those experiences," Woods, a student at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, said.

Is a Harvard graduation commencement ceremony in 2017 still considered "unsafe?"

Other reasons given sound plausible, although making it a "tradition" might be questioned if the ultimate goal is a color-blind society. Three hundred years from now, will that "tradition" make any sense?
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Old 05-14-17, 12:39 PM   #29
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Is a Harvard graduation commencement ceremony in 2017 still considered "unsafe?"
They still plan to attend the graduation commencement, so obviously they don't see anything wrong with it, unsafe or otherwise. They just want an additional celebration. Why read so much into it?
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Old 05-14-17, 01:46 PM   #30
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by Psi View Post
They still plan to attend the graduation commencement, so obviously they don't see anything wrong with it, unsafe or otherwise. They just want an additional celebration. Why read so much into it?
Because language has meaning.

The word "safe" used to commonly denote something "free from danger." That was not only common-understood, it was extremely useful (and important).

"Safe spaces" were homeless shelters (although debatable about how "safe" some were/are), shelters for women and children seeking refuge from domestic abuse, camps for fleeing war refugees, churches offering sanctuary, air raid shelters, etc. What the student seems to be using "safe space" as a euphemism for "a private event." There's nothing wrong with wanting to have an event offering an opportunity to conduct any event in any legal manner one desires, but euphemistically calling that a "safe space" seems a bit demeaning to actual places of refuge.

It's just a semantic point. It's been discussed in other threads in other contexts, and it seems that people just reach for faddish terms in ways that diminish the term somewhat. In this case, it seems that it's largely relegated to campuses. The term might actually have more relevance in situations in which people actually face threats or bullying and can use an alternative place to gather, whether community centers for minorities, night clubs devoted to specific interests, tournament rooms for gamers, etc.

Analogy: Due to threatened lawsuits from "Freedom From Religion" groups, a local commencement ceremony is dropping the public invocation. Families are free to hold private ceremonies or church events if they wish. But it would seem odd to call those optional events "safe spaces" when they are simply alternatives that allow those groups to conduct the event however they please.

I believe that most people would consider the underground railroad to be an example of a "safe space" (or the route to a safe space) as opposed to optional ceremony to a public event. Safety generally connotes an absence of persecution. I'd think it would be beneficial to all to stick to that meaning.
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Old 05-14-17, 01:47 PM   #31
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

Maybe it doesn't matter if you think they don't need a safe space?
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Old 05-14-17, 01:51 PM   #32
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Because language has meaning.

The word "safe" used to commonly denote something "free from danger." That was not only common-understood, it was extremely useful (and important).

"Safe spaces" were homeless shelters (although debatable about how "safe" some were/are), shelters for women and children seeking refuge from domestic abuse, camps for fleeing war refugees, churches offering sanctuary, air raid shelters, etc. What the student seems to be using "safe space" as a euphemism for "a private event." There's nothing wrong with wanting to have an event offering an opportunity to conduct any event in any legal manner one desires, but euphemistically calling that a "safe space" seems a bit demeaning to actual places of refuge.

It's just a semantic point. It's been discussed in other threads in other contexts, and it seems that people just reach for faddish terms in ways that diminish the term somewhat. In this case, it seems that it's largely relegated to campuses. The term might actually have more relevance in situations in which people actually face threats or bullying and can use an alternative place to gather, whether community centers for minorities, night clubs devoted to specific interests, tournament rooms for gamers, etc.

Analogy: Due to threatened lawsuits from "Freedom From Religion" groups, a local commencement ceremony is dropping the public invocation. Families are free to hold private ceremonies or church events if they wish. But it would seem odd to call those optional events "safe spaces" when they are simply alternatives that allow those groups to conduct the event however they please.

I believe that most people would consider the underground railroad to be an example of a "safe space" (or the route to a safe space) as opposed to optional ceremony to a public event. Safety generally connotes an absence of persecution. I'd think it would be beneficial to all to stick to that meaning.
You are going off on a tangent. They didn't say that the commencement ceremony was unsafe.
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Old 05-14-17, 01:51 PM   #33
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

g
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Originally Posted by Draven View Post
Maybe it doesn't matter if you think they need a safe space or not?
Maybe it doesn't. And, in the context of the discussion about language, your comment doesn't matter since it doesn't address the semantic point in any way.

I'm sure it doesn't matter if I prefer pastromi over rye, either...since that has as much relevance as your comment.

If you care to try to explain how the word "safe space" is appropriate, knock yourself out. You might begin by defining "safe."

Of course, I've just committed a "micro-aggression" with "passive-aggressive" sentiments that should have been preceded by a "trigger warning."

Last edited by creekdipper; 05-14-17 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 05-14-17, 01:55 PM   #34
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by Psi View Post
You are going off on a tangent. They didn't say that the commencement ceremony was unsafe.
You're missing the entire point about diminishing the term "safe" and "safe space."

I agree that it's a tangent, but it seemed that pretty much everyone agreed that any group could have any alternative ceremony they wanted, even if some might disagree about the need for such an alternative. I already said I didn't care one way or the other.

I didn't address "they." I addressed the comment of one student and used it to make a general point about the "misappropriation" of language (to use a popular term).

Last edited by creekdipper; 05-14-17 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 05-14-17, 02:22 PM   #35
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

I think in this context safe space isn't meant to imply that the main commencement ceremony is unsafe, but that this commencement ceremony is designed explicitly as a space to safely discuss issues affecting the black community at Harvard. So it's not this space is safe because all other spaces are unsafe, but rather regardless of the status of other spaces, this one is explicitly defined as safe.
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Old 05-14-17, 02:32 PM   #36
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
If you care to try to explain how the word "safe space" is appropriate, knock yourself out. You might begin by defining "safe."
It doesn't matter how you or I define safe space. They can call it Macaroni Fun Time if they want to.
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Old 05-14-17, 02:41 PM   #37
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

I think creek makes a valid point in one sense. It seems like among the Harvard elites the idea of an exclusive event intended for a certain clique is deemed to be too elitist and exclusionary, so they now couch it as an issue of "creating a safe space" so as not to look too elitist .
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Old 05-14-17, 02:43 PM   #38
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

So now Safe Space is a modern day term for prejudice.

Nice.

If Harvard will let Asians, Latinos, and other groups have their own graduation ceremonies without issue...I won't have a problem. However, I have yet to see such demonstration of equal opportunity exclusion.
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Old 05-14-17, 02:43 PM   #39
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
You're missing the entire point about diminishing the term "safe" and "safe space."
I'm certain I missed your point. Have a good day.
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Old 05-14-17, 02:53 PM   #40
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by inri222 View Post
You're telling me, especially after 8 years of oppression under Obama.
You should know as well as anyone, that oppression, is for many...a subjective experience.
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Old 05-14-17, 02:57 PM   #41
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by Psi View Post
I'm certain I missed your point. Have a good day.
Finally we agree on something.

I'll have a better day as soon as make a trip to my safe space. Fortunately, I haven't read the paper yet.
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Old 05-14-17, 02:59 PM   #42
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
So now Safe Space is a modern day term for prejudice.

Nice.

If Harvard will let Asians, Latinos, and other groups have their own graduation ceremonies without issue...I won't have a problem. However, I have yet to see such demonstration of equal opportunity exclusion.
The article in the first post in the thread mentioned a long-running Latino commencement ceremony at Harvard, so as usual you're full of shit.
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Old 05-14-17, 03:42 PM   #43
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draven View Post
It doesn't matter how you or I define safe space. They can call it Macaroni Fun Time if they want to.
Ah, now you do get the point.

Giving it your label would make as much sense as calling it a "safe space." And you've ignored the point that "they" was one person. It appears that you're trying to take a silly term used by one person and try to make it a racial thing. Basically, your whole point consists of saying that any label applied by anyone, regardless of how silly or inapplicable it may be, should be treated seriously.

What difference does it make? Well, for starters, it diminishes the importance of terms have impact, as was explained above. Remember that the next time someone borrows a historical term as a comparison which you find objectionable. And another effect it has when someone misappropriates a term is to make others take their opinions less seriously. I'm sure that was not her intent; in fact, I'd bet that she just used the term because it's trendy on campuses.

Yes, she can use an term she wishes...even Macaroni Fun Time. But she might want to consider the effect that will have since she's making a public statement, presumably to persuade skeptics of the necessity of the event.

You never said whether you agree with the use of the term "safe space" to describe the alternative ceremony. That's what the comment was about...and all it was about. How about sharing what you think safe space means?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
I think in this context safe space isn't meant to imply that the main commencement ceremony is unsafe, but that this commencement ceremony is designed explicitly as a slave to safely discuss issues affecting the black community at Harvard. So it's not this space is safe because all other spaces are unsafe, but rather regardless of the status of other spaces, this one is explicitly defined as safe.
I agree 100% that this is the expressed intent of the ceremony (btw, I think you intended to say "space" rather than "slave" in your post). However, I still think the word "safe" is misused. "Appropriate" or "planned" would be more fitting. If a commencement speaker or valedictorian wanted to cite their personal struggles overcoming racial discrimination, I think it would be entirely "safe" for them to do so at a Harvard commencement and that their comments would be welcomed. However, the intent of the overall ceremony is to recognize all graduates. It is not to focus on the specific concerns and issues of any specific group.

There is a huge difference between someone saying, "We agree with your views, but this is not the time and place to discuss them" and saying "We don't feel safe to discuss those issues." It's a matter of venue, not a question of being welcome or unwelcome to express ideas. And certainly not a question of feeling "safe" to do so. Imagine if every identifiable group representing every creed, race, religion, nationality, etc. wanted to have a voice at the graduation ceremony (including music, speeches, testimonials, recognition of individual achievements, etc.). An alternative ceremony affords the opportunity for all those things.

So why use the term "safe space" when it really is a "special event?" I believe that one reason for so many negative reactions to the concept of "safe spaces" is its overuse giving the appearance that the users are fearful of everything. That can be annoying even to sympathizers.

And we see it all the time when one group or another claims that their rights are being abridged, and posters here mock the idea that "discrimination" is involved. If one can object to what they see as misapplied language in those cases, why not with this one?
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Old 05-14-17, 03:52 PM   #44
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

Again, why does it matter what *I* think safe space means?
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Old 05-14-17, 04:05 PM   #45
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

My understanding given the quote would be that they want an environment where they can talk openly about challenges and experiences they've had related to their race without some obnoxious white people trying to convince them they totally didn't really face any challenges due to their race.
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Old 05-14-17, 04:10 PM   #46
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
So now Safe Space is a modern day term for prejudice.
I'm confused. I thought it was a word used to insult liberals. It became popular about the same time as "snowflake" and "triggered". Problem is when the insult can be so easily flung back and forth and then everyone owns it - and nobody likes being called it.

Quote:
If Harvard will let Asians, Latinos, and other groups have their own graduation ceremonies without issue...I won't have a problem. However, I have yet to see such demonstration of equal opportunity exclusion.
Have others requested and been denied a similar opportunity? I'm guessing no. But that would be my question to Harvard admin. Though I'm pretty sure a whites-only ceremony wouldn't be approved.
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Old 05-14-17, 04:29 PM   #47
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
So now Safe Space is a modern day term for prejudice.

Nice.

If Harvard will let Asians, Latinos, and other groups have their own graduation ceremonies without issue...I won't have a problem. However, I have yet to see such demonstration of equal opportunity exclusion.
Most universities have those now. Not just Harvard.
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Old 05-14-17, 04:39 PM   #48
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by Draven View Post
Again, why does it matter what *I* think safe space means?
For people like you and I, it doesn't matter. It only matters to those in authoritative and political positions...who can wield that definition of meaning on others to further their own agenda. If you just so happen to agree, then great, easy sailing...but if you disagree...the same rights you believed in are tossed out the window under the guise of a better community.
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Old 05-14-17, 04:51 PM   #49
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by Draven View Post
Again, why does it matter what *I* think safe space means?
It must matter since you commented on it thrice.

I'm still planning our next Macaroni Fun Time. You bring the javelins, I'll bring the noodles.

Last edited by creekdipper; 05-14-17 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 05-14-17, 05:08 PM   #50
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Re: Black students at Harvard to hold their own commencement

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Originally Posted by maxfisher View Post
My understanding given the quote would be that they want an environment where they can talk openly about challenges and experiences they've had related to their race without some obnoxious white people trying to convince them they totally didn't really face any challenges due to their race.
Isn't that the purpose of public forums, debates, sociology classes, political rallies, etc.?

Doesn't Harvard offer any venues for such discussions to go own safely?

The student's remark implied that they needed this separate graduation ceremony where they could talk openly about challenges and experiences without being interrupted. Is that sort of discussion typical for commencement ceremonies? Is it that she felt that they needed a "safe" space to do so, or is it more likely that both the Harvard administration and the rest of the attending public would think that a graduation ceremony is the wrong venue? There might need a need to discuss the impact of divorce upon a community, but a wedding ceremony would not be the right time or place to have an open forum (actually, it might not be a bad idea).

To repeat, not "unsafe." Just "inappropriate for the event."

If the word "safe" has now come to mean "a place where I can do what I want," then the word has lost a lot of its effective meaning.

If the organizers of the event had just planned a gathering to recognize achievements, it would have only been local news. The inclusion of a separate graduation ceremony made it national news. The student's remarks made it appear that she was trying to justify the separate ceremony by implying that it wasn't "safe" to do so at the main ceremony.
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