Where are the Brave Spaces?
For a long time, i have spoken about creating ‘Safe Spaces’ for conversation. But someone said something this past weekend that has caused me to shift my thinking on that. Because surely what we need are Brave Spaces where people will come and engage deeply and leave changed.
The idea of a Safe Space is one where you can be vulnerable and honest and feel free to share yourself in a space without receiving the kind of explosive and often violent response we see regularly on social media. When you use the wrong term or say the right thing in the wrong way, or whatever new thing we are choosing to be pedantic on this week.
But there is the unspoken idea that if a place is safe then you can enter and leave it unaffected. Which is not what we need from the kinds of conversation spaces we need to see in South Africa. We need places free from violence [and words can definitely be violent!] but inviting the uncomfortable and difficult and challenging engagements we need to emerge as different people.
We need conversations that will change us! That will cause us to think differently afterwards. That will help us to see the world around us in ways we were not able to before. That will move us to change how we live and how we interact with others.
White people speaking to and owning the issues we create or are blind to.
Men speaking to and owning the issues we create.
People who are able to lean into discomfort and remain present and continue to listen.
Spaces where people who think completely differently from each other can connect and look at some of the areas in their lives where there is overlap and where agreement is possible.
Non-violent Brave spaces. Opportunities to talk openly and honestly and share deep hurt and struggle believing that others will honour and respect your share whether they agree with your politics or religion or life choices.
These are what i want to spend more time being a part of creating…
Forget safe, so many of our problems come from a space of doing things the way we have always done before. We need brave spaces and brave people who will step into those spaces together and really connect with one another.