Van Jones, a CNN panelist and a former special advisor to the Barack Obama administration, said the idea of providing "safe spaces" on American college campuses so that students aren't confronted by any idea that might offend them or challenge their way of thinking, is "terrible."
Jones explained he is fine with the idea of being physically safe on a campus. "But there's another view that is now I think ascendant, which I think is just a horrible view, which is that 'I need to be safe ideologically. I need to be safe emotionally I just need to feel good all the time, and if someone says something that I don't like, that's a problem for everybody else including the administration.'"
Jones said this while discussing a recent protest by some students of the Institute of Politics against allowing Corey Lewandowski, Trump's former campaign manager, to speak at a campus event.
"I think that (safe space) is a terrible idea for the following reason: I don't want you to be safe, ideologically. I don't want you to be safe, emotionally. I want you to be strong. That's different," Jones said.
"I'm not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity. I'm not going to take all the weights out of the gym; that's the whole point of the gym. This is the gym. You can't live on a campus where people say stuff you don't like? And these people can't fire you, they can't arrest you, they can't beat you up, they can just say stuff you don't like — and you get to say stuff back — and this you cannot bear?"
Jones became more animated at this point and expressed his frustration by adding, "this is ridiculous BS, liberals!"
"My parents, and Monica Elizabeth Peak's parents (pointing to someone in the audience) were marched, they dealt with fire hoses! They dealt with dogs! They dealt with beatings! You can't deal with a mean tweet?" Jones asked.
"You are creating a kind of liberalism that the minute it crosses the street into the real world is not just useless, but obnoxious and dangerous. I want you to be offended every single day on this campus. I want you to be deeply aggrieved and offended and upset, and then to learn how to speak back. Because that is what we need from you in these communities."
The debate over "safe spaces" on college campuses was spurred by an op-ed in The New York Times, "In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas," by Judith Shulevitz in 2015.
The Brown University campus, Shulevitz wrote, provided a "safe space" during a debate about campus rape, which was a room "equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies ..."
While high school graduates were once considered adults, college students are now treated like kindergartners, she noted.
The idea of creating "safe spaces" has become "so commonplace on American college campuses that it's hardly news anymore," wrote author and The Christian Post contributor Eric Metaxas last September.
It's also a "good challenge for us Christians," Metaxas wrote. "Do we create 'safe spaces' for our students, and leave them unprepared for the real world? Or do we teach them not only the Christian worldview, but help them understand opposing worldviews, so they can take them on in the marketplace of ideas?"
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