“Safe” Spaces


Yale — yeah, that Ivy League place where most of the DC moverz-’n’-shakers originate; yeah, that Yale — has an “ Intercultural Affairs Council”. Apparently its purpose is to email students telling them what The Council doen not want them to wear for Halloween. yeah; that Halloween.

… so as not to offend others. They listed specific examples of costumes deemed offensive, “such as feathered headdresses, turbans, ‘war paint,’ and blackface as examples of inappropriate ‘cultural appropriation and/or misrepresentation’.”

You need to tell Yale students not to wear “blackface”?
Cream of the intellectual crop Yalies? BTNIN

Well, the Associate Master of Silliman College thinks not:

[Erika Christakis, Associate Master of Silliman College] further urged students “not to take offense at insensitive Halloween costumes,” and she told students, “‘If you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. ‘Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offence are the hallmarks of a free and open society’.”

I don’t wish to trivialize genuine concerns about cultural and personal representation, and other challenges to our lived experience in a plural community. I know that many decent people have proposed guidelines on Halloween costumes from a spirit of avoiding hurt and offense. I laud those goals, in theory, as most of us do. But in practice, I wonder if we should reflect more transparently, as a community, on the consequences of an institutional (which is to say: bureaucratic and administrative) exercise of implied control over college students.

… Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious… a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition.

When the students demonstrated against the idea that they be allowed to choose their own Halloween costumes [yes, against] and Master of Silliman College, Nicholas Christakis said his job was to create an intellectual space for exploration, they disagreed. Vociferously, hysterically, and obscenely: [srsly NSFW]

Well… *I* feel “safer,” now.

Later, this was …re-phrased:

As a Silimander, I feel that my home is being threatened. Last week, Erika Christakis, the associate master of Silliman College, sent an email to the Silliman community that called an earlier entreaty for Yalies to be more sensitive about culturally appropriating Halloween costumes a threat to free speech.

. . . . Today, when a group of us, organized originally by the Black Student Alliance at Yale, spoke with Christakis in the Silliman Courtyard, his response once again disappointed many of us. When students tried to tell him about their painful personal experiences as students of color on campus, he responded by making more arguments for free speech. It’s unacceptable when the Master of your college is dismissive of your experiences. The Silliman Master’s role is not only to provide intellectual stimulation, but also to make Silliman a safe space that all students can come home to.

. . . . I have had to watch my friends defend their right to this institution. This email and the subsequent reaction to it have interrupted their lives. I have friends who are not going to class, who are not doing their homework, who are losing sleep, who are skipping meals, and who are having breakdowns. I feel drained. And through it all, Christakis has shown that he does not consider us a priority. []

. . . . Christakis’ actions have not been aimed at healing a divided community. Instead, they continue to frame the issue in an “us against them” split. Christakis needs to stop instigating more debate. He needs to stop trying to argue with people who are hurting, regardless of his personal opinions. Being the Master of Silliman is a position of power. To use it to marginalize so much of the student body is deplorable.

And those are the people tantruming CryBullies headed for the Halls of Government and Commerce.

Brought to you by the Self-Esteeeem Movement, Participation Trophies, Federally-dictated Standardized Tests and The Viiiictim Kulchuah™; universities full of mental and emotional defectives “who are losing sleep, who are skipping meals, and who are having breakdowns” over who shall — nay, must — tell them what to wear for Halloween.


  1. staghounds
    Posted November 11, 2015 at 11:21 am |

    “He needs” = “I want him to”.

    Not even the grave is a safe space, loser.

  2. Nomen Nescio
    Posted November 11, 2015 at 11:46 am |

    I think the logical conclusion to their argument is mandatory school uniforms, just to avoid any possible daily micro agressions, and the subsequent loss of sleep and breakdowns.

  3. DougM (quiet, keeps to himself, kind of a loner, nobody thought he’d do anything like this)
    Posted November 11, 2015 at 12:04 pm |

    Can’t wait to see how they react to their first drill instructor.
    … or shift supervisor at MacDonald’s.

  4. staghounds
    Posted November 11, 2015 at 12:52 pm |

    Yale. They’ll never have one.

    Their first HR director or school principal will do fine with them.

  5. Fawkes News (No football till Obama resigns)
    Posted November 11, 2015 at 2:27 pm |

    Christakis failed to realize that the Offended™ desire a society that is neither free nor open.

  6. Ironic in Denver
    Posted November 11, 2015 at 2:50 pm |

    You need to tell Yale students not to wear “blackface”?

    “This isn’t blackface I’m wearing. It’s night cammo paint.
    I’m dressed as a Special Forces op.
    See? I’m wearing a mock green beret uniform.
    See? A plastic squirt gun, wisely colored orange so no one can pretend it’s real.
    Still feeling “unsafe?”
    That’s okay, I’m headed off campus to a Halloween party attended by actual adults, so you won’t be there, and won’t feel unsafe.

    Oh, and one more thing… Fuck You.

  7. mojo
    Posted November 12, 2015 at 6:17 am |

    Doug: hand-to-hand class: “Awright, looks like we have some pretty big boys here, which of you thinks he can push me off my feet? You. Stand up.”

    Total humiliation follows, as a 250 pound ex-linebacker fails to lay a hand on a five foot nuthin’ DI, while being tossed around at will.

  8. drew458
    Posted November 12, 2015 at 10:23 am |

    I was talking with a bunch of actual Mexicans the other day (yeah, they were the landscape crew. So?) and the Halloween costume subject came up. Hell no they weren’t offended that gringos want to dress up as Pancho Villa/Frito Bandito. They thought it was funny.

    Granted, they couldn’t speak for all Mexicans. Just the ones here working 18 hour days trying to make a living.