[hackerspaces] Safe Space Policies?

Glyn Kennington glyn at potatojunkie.co.uk
Mon Jan 27 11:56:09 CET 2014

matt wrote:
> Al, if I see a restaurant that has a big sign outside that says "Don't beat
> up the white folk."  I am probably going to avoid eating there.  It implies
> that the beating of white folk is an issue that has occurred in the past.
> Something of an implied public maligning of your community.

If white folks can go to all the other restaurants in the area without risk of
a beating, then yes, that sign would be the opposite of welcoming.  But
harassment *is* an issue that keeps occurring in similar spaces, so a space
having a policy/sign saying that it's not welcome here should be taken in that
context.  It's only maligning the community for people who weren't already
aware of the problem.

> The sign itself... does it magically transform your space into some
> accepting utopian ideal in which all races colors and creeds can come
> together in joy and hackery?  It's a sign dude.  You'd be lucky if anyone
> bothered to read it. 

If it's something that new members are supposed to have read, then it cuts down
the number of times a boundary-pusher can defend their unacceptable behaviour
with "I didn't realise that was inappropriate/it was just a bit of fun".  And
it might even reduce genuine misunderstandings among the stereotypical socially
awkward geeks that are already welcomed by the space.


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