TO THE EDITOR:
While the views expressed in “Safe spaces don’t exist” largely resonate with me, an important point goes undiscussed: the trade-offs between your persistent identity and your willingness to freely express yourself. In any face-to-face meeting between people, there’s always an identity involved whose reputation is at stake. You say different things to different people, because your relationship with them is different. Some of your identities are inherently more conservative than others.
If people aren’t giving the full depth of their opinions, anonymity is always a possible way to get more. When you have a new identity, the barriers that come with face-to-face communication fall away, because everyone in the anonymous space is your equal.
The anonymous space requires constant curation, but that’s in the hands of particular people, and not something built into the space itself. If legitimate opinions are kept out, or undesirable interactions are allowed, you now have somebody to point at and somebody to hold responsible.
Don’t underestimate the power you get by wearing a new mask. You already wear plenty of them, and sometimes you need a fresh one.
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