In which Semi-Partisan Politics admits defeat…
When I began the “Tales From The Safe Space” series, my intention was not for it to dominate the blog to the extent which it has done over the past couple of weeks. But I have continued to write the stories up, because each case covered here has exposed or highlighted a different side of the Identity Politics issue, and I think there has been something unique to say about them all.
That being said, there are other pressing things happening in the world. In Britain specifically, the coming EU referendum (and the upcoming launch of the Leave Alliance) is deserving of more coverage, as is George Osborne’s imminent Budget, which looks set to provide more fodder for our “What Conservative Government?” series.
Therefore, future “Tales From The Safe Space” may come in the form of occasional digests and summaries of stories from around Britain and America – since new campus controversies seem to be occurring faster than I can cover them individually on this site as a one-man operation.
So, without further ado:
A pro-life bus advertisement in Ottawa was reported to “trigger” several activists who objected to its message:
Activists at universities in southern California and Arizona are demanding that campus authorities ban U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials from recruiting on campus, on the inevitable grounds that it makes students who are in America illegally feel unsafe:
Protesters at several campuses in Southern California and Arizona have demanded administrators cut all ties with the federal agency, and some have protested agents’ presence on campus. Students say border protection representatives make students – especially students in the country illegally – feel unsafe.
At UC Santa Barbara in late January, a parade of students boisterously demonstrated against border patrol recruiters at a campus job fair, loudly chanting “f*ck your borders, f*ck your walls.” One organizer told The College Fix agents’ attendance was “triggering” for undocumented students, adding “there is no space on this campus for an organization that continues to threaten the safety of students.”
Last fall, after UC Irvine students circulated a petition that called on administrators to remove a U.S. Customs and Border Protection booth from the school’s fall career fair – saying officers’ presence would make the campus unsafe for students in the country illegally – the agency backed out of the event.
A student committee at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge abruptly changed the theme of a party which was to be based on Jules Verne’s novel “Around the World in 80 Days”, because of fears that student costumes would amount to cultural appropriation:
Cambridge university students have caused an Around the World in 80 Days-themed party to be cancelled because they claimed it could encourage “cultural appropriation”.
Undergraduates complained that the theme could even be seen as racist if revellers dress up in clothes from a different ethnic group.
Students at Pembroke College are now arguing about whether axing the event was restricting their freedom of expression or preventing offence towards ethnic minorities.
And in slightly more hopeful news, Peter Tatchell – recently the victim of a ridiculous attempt at Reverse No-Platforming by a particularly virtue-signalling and fame-hungry NUS activist, covered on this blog – has come out against university authorities who are often just as hostile to free speech as the safe space-dwelling students they serve:
University officials who censor student journalists pose as great a threat to free speech as controversial “safe space” policies, a leading activist has said.
A freedom of expression row has erupted at University College London (UCL) after The Independent revealed that the institution had been accused of threatening and intimidating one of its student reporters.
Rebecca Pinnington, 21, said she was made to feel “intimidated, anxious and scared” after UCL warned she may face disciplinary action – including expulsion – for possessing confidential documents found on a public university server.
The university initially denied that threats had been made, but last night conceded that the letter handed to Ms Pinnington “set out the full range of penalties available in the disciplinary code”.
Generally welcome words, and good to see the veteran activist taking the fight to the campus authoritarianism of university administrations as well as over-sensitive students.
And finally, a very welcome piece in the student newspaper of my own alma mater, Warwick University, pushing back against cultural appropriation hysteria:
Why do we all have to stick to our own cultures and not be allowed to merge? People should be able to wear whatever they want, and to engage with other cultures freely.
Just think what this could mean for the fashion world if culture-fusion clothing became more acceptable. Maybe the diversity would allow men to would have more clothing options too. This year at the Oscars the male actors all showed up wearing practically the same thing! It’s not really their fault; there just aren’t enough clothing options for men. In the future they could come to the Oscars in a sherwani? A Kilt? Or various other traditional clothes that I don’t know the names of because they aren’t mainstream enough.
A lot of fashion trends, are inspired from other cultures. There are some global trends emerging in fashion, for example I noticed that as crop tops and high wasted skirts became popular in the West, simultaneously South Asian designers reignited the lenga trend (which is basically a crop top and a long high wasted skirt).
Good to see some more voices raised against the attempts by censorious student activists to enforce a new kind of cultural apartheid on campus, whereby the enjoyment of one culture’s cuisine, fashion or art outside of its original context is viewed as tantamount to modern day colonialism.
More – inevitably – to follow soon.
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