In a rare video of dialogue between conservative activists with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and angry “social justice warriors” (SJWs) at the University of Kansas (KU), viewers can catch a glimpse of the ideas behind “safe spaces” and the angry ideology which doesn’t take no for an answer. Toward the end, one SJW flatly called the meeting’s organizer a white supremacist, and said this is beyond debate.
“It’s not a disagreement of whether you’re a white supremacist or not,” declared the deep-voiced individual who identified her(?)self as a “trans woman of color.” “If you believe in this snowflake bullsh*t, if you believe that there should not be safe spaces on this campus, if you believe that there is not institutional racism on this campus, that is you not recognizing your white privilege!”
This was not the first time this trans woman called the organizer a white supremacist. “I am calling you — and you can get it on video — I am calling you a white supremacist. The fact that you think it is your job and your entitlement and your duty to destroy safe spaces.”
At least three SJWs entirely derailed the YAF meeting by loudly interrupting the organizer’s attempts to explain why he opposed “intellectual safe spaces.” Amazing as it may seem, through all the shouting and name-calling, a general idea emerged, incoherent as it might have been.
One LGBT individual, who I might call a gay man, reacted angrily to being referred to as “you.” This person angrily declared, “My pronouns are THEY!” At which point the trans woman of color explained, “So from now on, when you refer to them, use they/them/their because we’ve shown you the respect to refer to you by your name. So from now on you will refer to them as they because that is the appropriate thing to do after you are the age of f**king twelve.”
(In all fairness to this person, words and grammatical syntax have meaning. Even if a person is schizophrenic and has multiple personalities, an English speaker should refer to that person as singular — and if addressing that person, as “you,” which is the second person. Normally, I would refer to a person how they prefer, but in order for my language to make sense, I will have to refuse his request.)
This gay man defended safe spaces, arguing that “those places were made for people like me.” In a passionate declaration, he explained why he needed them:
Do y’all understand that I had to fight … to be able to live in a hall that I’m comfortable in, and I still got sh*t for it?
I don’t study in the library, because I don’t feel comfortable with people always wondering what my gender identity is. I don’t feel comfortable being in classrooms where I am supposed to speak as a trans human, a queer person, as all queer people. … If I don’t care about that, then I get murdered!
This person argued that “safe spaces are a necessity,” because “the institution that we’re at is not a safe space in its entirety.” In order to be safe, “we have to carve out places … because not only will we get harassed, we’ll be murdered, we’ll be all this stuff — discriminated against.”
Next Page: Reports of violence against the transgender woman.
The deep-voiced trans woman of color recounted her story of abuse at KU. She recalled “being assaulted on this campus, by five motherf**kers, and even posting it on Facebook, having 20,000 people watch it.” The organizer said he had watched her video and condemned the violence against her, but she said that was not enough.
“What are you doing in support of my video, what are you doing to change the climate of this campus, what are you doing as a white person who has the privilege to walk into a classroom and be automatically respected because you were born with a d*ck, because you are male,” she retorted. She argued that his arguments against safe space are “completely depleting all of the safety that we’ve built up.”
When the YAF organizer responded that he was referring to intellectual safe spaces, not physical ones, the trans woman asked him to define it. The first time he tried to define it, he was cut off mid-sentence by an angry outburst. The second time, he explained that an intellectual safe space is “the idea that as soon as you’re presented with something that makes you uncomfortable on an intellectual level, you don’t have to accept it and you can just retreat.” At that, chaos erupted again.
A black woman actually attacked civilization itself as oppressive. “Civilization is something white folks invented … literally, civiliz—motherf**king—lation,” she declared. “You inserted yourself into other people’s land and forced your culture upon them. You’re still reaping the benefits, are you not?”
“That’s what y’all are failin’ to realize,” she continued. “People of color, marginalized identity, we can take it from you. Because with Donald Trump runnin’ for president, you think white supremacy is okay. I gotch’yall.”
When a YAF member responded, “I don’t care about my whiteness,” the woman shot back angrily, “You DO care about your whiteness, and you think safe spaces shouldn’t exist!”
“I don’t care about your recordings, I don’t care about your whiteness, and none of y’all smirky-*ss motherf**kers intimidate me,” she boldly declared. “We deserve benefits because you enslaved us for 400 years. … Your ancestors and you still reap the benefits. You still reap the privilege of the genocide of Native Americans, and the slavery.”
The SJWs insisted that this “privilege” extended to all areas of college life: the black woman said she had to go into debt to pay for college (which most people do, regardless of race), and the trans woman mentioned the freedom to walk places. When the YAF organizer responded, saying the trans woman has that same freedom, she said no. “No one called on you, no one said, ‘show me that you’re a real woman,'” when he would walk down the street.
“Hey, let’s get our heads out of our *sses and for once listen clearly that people are f**king dying,” the trans woman added. “Is that not clear? Do I need to post on your page, every f**king day, a different person who has died? Because if I have to f**king do that, you best f**king bet I will.”
The SJWs were angry and defensive, aggressive even, but they argued that this is all due to fear: fear that they would be demeaned, insulted, attacked. The trans woman of color clearly had a very traumatic experience, and it is important for conservatives to understand where the anger and defensiveness comes from.
Next Page: How we should respond to this anger and the ideology.
It is important for all people to be protected from physical violence, and it is not acceptable for attacks to happen on any given campus. But words should not be equated with violence.
When the organizer tried to calm down the room, he said, “Guys!” This was an unforgivable offense. “Do not call us guys!” someone in the crowd responded. “It’s a gender term … a f**king micro-aggression.”
If the organizer had a second chance, I am sure he would not have used that word. But how insane is it to object to a word commonly used to refer to groups of men and women — and to equate that with violence?
Indeed, if the language of privilege is taken seriously, is any attempt by a white man to express himself not an act of violence to women, racial minorities, and LGBT people? If his very existence reminds them of slavery and oppression, does he have a right to exist?
It is true that gays, lesbians, and transgender people are mocked, insulted, and physically attacked, and that these things are violations of their rights. They need to be protected from harm to the full extent of the law — but we need to be careful where we draw the line between provocative insults and the free expression of ideas. The very word “micro-aggression” is an attempt to blur this line, and it is dangerous to do so.
If words do not have objective meaning, and can be interpreted however a victimized person wishes to do so, then any speech from a “privileged” person to a “non-privileged” person can be considered a micro-aggression. This is dangerous, not just to the speaker, but to society as a whole, and to the development of ideas.
Free speech is important, and the shouting and dogmatism — dare I call it outright aggression — displayed at this event is no model for useful dialogue. The idea that white people’s ideas have no value because they benefit from some hard-to-define “privilege” is nasty. Indeed, we should call it what it is — racism.
Check out the video on the next page!
Warning: This video is highly emotionally charged and contains gratuitous language.