Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fuck Fair: Favoring the Injured (On Safe Space)

There are a lot of places that need your time today, thank you for spending a moment or two here. Please see the Red Cross if you want to help out Moore, Oklahoma. They will need your help for a long time coming. So if you could not donate the first time around, like me, keep them in mind for when you can spare something to help, please.

A “safe space” is a convention where a chat room, a comment thread, a blog, or what have you is considered more safe than the average Internet site for expressing thoughts, experiences and conversations regarding societal oppression, patriarchy, or other designated topic, grouping of people, or sharing of an idea.

Safe space is not about not getting hurt. No one can police for everything. It is knowing that you are in a space where it is safe to get hurt.

There's no OED for social justice, so we all need to spell out what we mean when we say things like "safe space." I have to be honest about conversations here: I cannot promise folks will not get hurt. Somebody is not going to know "g*psy" is an insult or that a band name is triggering or whatever. I do understand that sometimes genuine mistakes get made - and I will judge those as they occur. We are people, mistakes get made and when your wounds are out they sometimes get opened.

I say this again: fuck fair, favor the injured. In the rest of the world, people with privilege are actually fucking privileged and can have their say as they will. A safe space puts the dis-empowered on the at least the same level, with the same expectation of opportunity to speak, to be, to live.

You give people space, let them know you are there, you listen when they are aggrieved. You care. You do not just let them know that you care, you fucking do it. Give other people reason (since the injured party should never need to) and opportunity to apologize and maybe even go learn more and be a better person. I give the injuring the opportunity to grow in a way that is not hurtful to the injured... And if they do not take it, fuck ‘em.

Bigots and cads and shit stirrers get tossed. Here, that is by my discretion alone at this point. Mistakes among the rest of folks means giving genuine opportunity for real recovery, and for folks learning - really learning, real space to do that too. Probably not together, though. But they voices dimmed out there are favored here, and that is that.

Finally, if need be, I am comfortable asserting that I Am The Bitch Boss Here if needed. A lot of this is hard to put down in solid rules or guidelines. If you are here, then you have decided to trust me as the arbiter of that. I am perfectly comfortable with the fact that you can go almost anywhere else and say what you want. More power to you, as if you need it. I stand (sit) behind what I have written here and elsewhere on the subject.

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