Why BRAVE Space Ministries?
If you go back through the Rules of Engagement posts, you’ll see me mention a bit about why I use Brave Space terminology, vs. Safe Space. Read below to see a bit more about why I don’t believe in Safe spaces.
Safe spaces are for marginalized people.
When historically self-elevated people ask me about a safe space, I respond by asking what the danger is. Often, the danger is tied to emotional safety and fear of backlash. While I appreciate and understand emotional danger, it usually stops there: physical danger rarely comes up in a serious way.
In the United States, people that are not white are pushed to the margins. Communities and people of color are underfunded, under-resourced, and undervalued. Our work is not taken as seriously as our white colleagues and our expertise is questioned, even when speaking on our own experiences.
As I continue the conversation with the white person who asked for safety, I mention the physical and emotional discomfort that marginalized people feel, and ask that person to consider this experience a crash course in becoming friends with discomfort. The discomfort that comes from being in “unsafe” spaces is a great teacher.
We want to mitigate any further societal disfiguration
Having conversations about identity, politics, and identity politics is hard, not safe. Which is why I build BRAVE spaces, not safe ones. White people in the United States are able to build racial bubbles and not have any significant experiences with people of color for long stretches of time. Creating spaces where people can come together and discuss difficult topics is not safe. In order to move past racism in the United States, we have to be willing to talk about hard things. Ignoring a deep cut doesn’t help it get better. It *might*, but there is a bigger chance of slow healing, infection, or disfiguration. We want to mitigate any further societal disfiguration
The goal with a BRAVE space isn’t to create emotional or physical danger, but rather to create a SAFER space. People enter the space knowing that the conversation may de tough, but they have it anyway. We agree to the BRAVE space rules and radically honor the whole person: all their fears, doubts, questions, and truths.
This framework can be applied to any and all difficult conversations. As a retired students affairs professional (housing and residence life), I wish I had used these guidelines with my students. Setting ground rules in any difficult conversation assists in creating a safer space. Knowing that people will be honest with me, while respecting my humanity allows me to do the same. BRAVE conversations and safer spaces are some of the keys to dismantling White Supremacy Culture and bringing humans closer to the truth that God wants us to live.