Safe Spaces and Culture Jamming — Armchair Philosophy

Joe talks about safe spaces and culture jamming. But, y’know, that’s right there in the title.

HI! Are you a mediocre white baby boomer Fox News viewer who thinks Safe Spaces are places where special little snowflakes gather to delude themselves and/or plot your downfall? This video is for you.

I kid. Though, sadly, the part I’m kidding about is that it’s only mediocre white baby boomers who fall victim to this, and not a sad plurality that includes just about everybody who’s only half-paying attention.

If you think a safe space is anything at all but a place where marginalized people can speak to one-another without somebody butting in to tell them that they’re going to hell or genetically inferior, you have fallen victim to a tactic known as culture jamming.

This tactic is so pervasive and common that I’m going to put my talking head away for a second and draw you a fucking map.

Here’s two “extremes” of an “issue.” On this side is people on whom society regularly shits who want a space to breathe and learn and talk and be themselves.

On this side is people who literally always have that privilege, but feel like they don’t, and are threatened by queer people and brown people’s mere existence.

All of this space. All of it. In this middle here. This is everybody only kind of paying attention who just wants to be left alone.

And all of those people are vulnerable to the tactic of culture jamming.

So what is it?

Culture jamming is a very devious, clever, insidious, and super-effective re-framing of a thing to be something it isn’t. It’s a lie, repeated often-enough to cloud an issue in the minds of..?  These people.

These people? They created an environment where they can be black, or gay, or trans, or Mexican, or American Indian, or any other marginalized group, and talk about those things to one-another with the reasonable expectation of human decency.

These people? They hate when we talk to each other about the pain we’re in, and they’re super threatened by any space where their voice isn’t the dominant one. So what do they do? They lie. They paint a picture for THESE people that portrays these spaces as something they aren’t. Some jack-booted gestapo of political correctness where their first-amendment rights are being denied.

And if you believe that, let me ask you this: Do you think alcoholics anonymous is violating your first-amendment rights by allowing people with a condition to speak to other people with the same condition?

AA is a safe space. For alcoholics. Where they are free from judgement and can speak about their experiences to one-another fearlessly.

The aforementioned white baby boomer Fox News viewer? They seem to think that all spaces are safe for them, therefore they can say what they want without challenge, and as soon as someone creates a space where they can’t be assholes, suddenly everyone but them is a triggered snowflake that can’t take criticism when literally the opposite of that is what’s happening.

These people’s jimmies are so rustled by the idea of a space existing that isn’t for them that they have to smear it. They need to smear it. They have to tell these people that a safe space is a place where it’s not okay to be white or straight or male or a Republican, but I repeat myself, and that these super-sensitive snowflakes should just toughen up and live in the real world.

And they repeat this until the conversation is, as always, centered on them. This, hats, cats, and other folk, is Culture Jamming.

Act as if a good thing is something else entirely, and talk about it accordingly, for long enough, and these people will take your side. Because the world these people want to live in is the one where they’re already perfect and aren’t doing anything wrong.

What I ask of you, dear viewer, is to recognize those comforting lies for what they are: appeals to your desire to think you’re a good person. And I hope you’ll remember that being a good person is work. The good news is? It’s not even a lot of work. It’s bare-minimum stuff.

For Sofa Justice Warriors, I’m Joe. Thank you everybody, goodnight.

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