I had to laugh at this grim-faced young woman in her shadowy Ann Arbor bedroom, embodying post-election trauma for the NYT.But click on the link to the article, and you'll see — at least if you're going there this minute — that the headline has become "On Campus, Trump Fans Say They Need ‘Safe Spaces.'" Now, the grim-faced young woman who let the NYT photographer into her bedroom looks like a big whiner who demanded a safe space! And she's the one who chided others for getting coddled:
Oddly enough, this person was pro-Trump. She started out "ecstatic"....
But her mood of celebration quickly faded when students held an evening vigil on campus — to mourn the results — and her biology teacher suspended class on the assumption, Ms. Delekta said, that students would be too upset to focus.
She was outraged. “Nobody has died,” Ms. Delekta said. “The United States has not died. Democracy is more alive than ever. Simply put, the American people voted and Trump won.”
She circulated an online petition and accused the university president of catering to the liberal majority by suggesting that “their ideology was superior to the ideology of their peers,” as she put it, when he sent out an email publicizing the vigil and listing counseling resources for students upset by the election. Three days later, she was invited to meet with the president in his office.Quite aside from the distinct disservice to this particular 20-year-old individual, why is the new headline connecting the demand for "safe spaces" to the pro-Trump side? The first 5 paragraphs are about how Trump opponents were acting out grief and how the university administration was proactively offering psychological support (not "safe spaces," but counseling).
“I was completely shocked that he even read the letter,” she said. “That was definitely a new thing. It was very exciting.”
If we keep reading, do we ever encounter support for the proposition that it's the Trump fans who are demanding safe spaces?
There's a video from the woman in the first photo, Amanda Delekta, and she's talking about going to a biology class that began with the teacher saying she couldn't respect anyone who voted for Trump. Delekta only says there should be mutual respect within the shared space of the classroom, not that anything like a "safe space" must be provided.
There's the conclusory sentence:
Conservative students who voted for Mr. Trump say that even though their candidate won, their views are not respected. Some are adopting the language of the left, saying they need a “safe space” to express their opinions — a twist resented by left-leaning protesters."Safe space" is in quotes, but who is quoted? Where has this happened? And have "left-leaning protesters" really expressed resentment over this demand that I'm not sure has even been made?
Is this the fake news I've been hearing about?
I keep reading this long article, which is by Anemona Hartocollis, and I'm not finding anything to support the headline. Way down in the text there's this:
Ibtihal Makki, a self-confident senior in a pink hijab who is studying biopsychology and neuroscience and is chairwoman of a student government diversity committee, objected to conservatives on campus saying they needed safe spaces to express their views.
“To turn around and say that they need safe spaces after their candidate won I think is ironic and hypocritical,” Ms. Makki said.So it's hearsay from Makki?
In the past, she added, conservatives did not understand the need for safe spaces, “because they never needed it, because they don’t have any of the identities that made them feel that way.”
White conservatives like Ms. Delekta...Delekta is white? More hearsay. Does Delekta self-identify as white?
... Ms. Makki said, are not as vulnerable as someone with dark skin or who is wearing a hijab, because she cannot be identified as a conservative by any outward signs.Okay, I get that Makki called Deletka a hypocrite, but did she have access to some quote from Deletka that isn't in the article or did the NYT reporter paraphrase Deletka's comments in a way that introduced the term "safe space" and elicited a reaction that got Makki to say what the reporter wanted said? These are very young people, Makki and Deletka, and it's wrong to use them to say something the reporter has decided ought to be said. If that's what happened, this is fake news.
By the way, Makki raised an interesting point that could have been further examined: People can be hated because of things they can't hide (like your race if you have a very dark or very light skin color) and because of things they can hide (like your race if you have a medium skin tone or your beliefs and opinions or your sexual orientation). But I wouldn't assume that it's easier when the attribute can be hidden. It's different to have a choice whether to be out and proud or to hide.
When it comes to political opinions, you can keep them to yourself, and the ballot is nicely secret. That left a lot of people hiding their support for Trump. Trump haters made it socially if not physically dangerous to openly support Trump, and so they laid the groundwork for the shock that came on election night.
Do you want political opinion to be out where you can see it and talk about it? Or do you want people to withhold their opinions? It seems to me that Delekta was saying: Let's have it out in the open. Let's have that marketplace ideas. We can be together. That's the opposite of a demand for a safe space.
And it seems that Makki is saying that she feels vulnerable because of things about her that she can't hide, even though she is choosing to wear religious garb. Is she saying because of her beliefs — which are inside her head — she feels threatened by what she uses her head to imagine is in Delekta's head? Where does all that get you? To a demand that everyone repress whatever they can because a few things — like very dark skin color — cannot be repressed?
I wish the article had explored some of these depths! Why not invite Delekta and Makki to sit down together and talk and see where they go instead of inducing one to talk about the other behind her back?