Safe spaces: What are they and do we need them?


photo by Sara Easter

Safe space. Graham Osborn performs at the Black Sheep in Springfield. The Black Sheep is one of Sara Easter’s safe spaces, and she also takes pictures there for her photography business. “I guess you could say that being behind a camera is a safe space.”

by Andrea Ricker , Editor-in-Chief

Safe spaces are a controversial topic in the media today. But what exactly are they? Some say that it’s a place for people to say what they want without the fear of being judged, but others think it’s not really a thing and that people should just deal with the real world.

“It’s an area where people won’t feel like they’re going to be criticized, they don’t feel like they’re going to be hated on, they don’t feel like they’re going to be discriminated. It’s a place where people can feel welcome, a place where people can feel safe,” says junior Jake Deetz. He also adds that people need a place where they can know that they’re going to be safe, “With all the racism, with all the hate, with all the sexism, with all the cases of rape and people not taking them seriously, people need a place where they feel they’re going to be safe.”

Not everyone agrees with Deetz’s statement. Senior Caleb White feels that people should just “grow up and [accept that] this is the real world, free speech is a right.” He adds that it’s an area where people “abolish free speech that they deem insensitive or derogatory.”

“I honestly have no clue why there’s so much controversy on safe spaces,” says senior Sara Easter, “it’s not like they’re a bad thing. Safe spaces help people so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them.” Easter adds that people can protect safe spaces by creating more of them and getting people involved and speaking out about the issue. “Making your voice heard is important.” However, Deetz adds that even if safe spaces are legitimized, there’s still going to be people that are angry about it, and that there will still be controversy.

So, what are some examples of safe spaces? Deetz says that his safe space is his home, because his family is very open and accepting. For Easter, she has quite a few, all having to do with the arts. “It’s how I get through all of my problems. Artists are usually the troubled ones and we always take comfort in art. Art is our safe space.”

“Everyone has different opinions, but you have to respect each other’s and you can agree or disagree in a peaceful way,” says White. He also adds that people who think safe spaces are significantly important need to “grow up this is the real world. Kind of sucks but this is the one we got.”

“Why is it so bad that people can have places where they feel safe in a society like this one where it’s rampant with all this stuff,” Deetz says. “Why is that such a bad thing? Why is that a thing that you need to feel like you’re offended about?”