Okay, that headline is a bit of a play on words. Shapiro did use the phrase “safe space” in a positive way but he didn’t mean the kind of thing that SJWs mean when they say it. Shapiro was interviewed today by Joe Rogan and at one point the discussion turned to the topic of race, which is obviously a major topic at this moment in time.
“I had the unfortunate experience of actually reading one of the bestselling books in America right now, Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility and let me just tell you a greater pile of horsesh*t has never been produced by a bevy of horses,” Shapiro said. He continued, “The basic definition of racism changes in this theory…You and I are sitting here discussing racism and the way I define racism is probably the same way you define racism: You believe in the superiority or inferiority of a group based on race [or] of an individual based on their membership in that group too.”
“Robin DiAngelo and Ibram Kendi redefine racism to mean any societal structure that results in a racial inequality is itself racist,” Shapiro said.
“Does that make the NBA racist?” Rogan asked?
“Exactly! The answer is kind of yes…” Shapiro replied. And then he added, “It’s because it’s a meritocracy is the reason the NBA is not racist but Robin DiAngelo and Kendi both suggest that meritocracy is an aspect of whiteness. They say that meritocracy and the individual are aspects of whiteness because these institutions, things like meritocracy and individualism and not seeing people’s color, these just reinforce hierarchies that end with disparate outcomes.
“And so what they say is that in order to be anti-racist you have to be willing to tear down the entire system.”
This may sound like an exaggeration but as I pointed out last week, the NY Times spent some time with DiAngelo and other anti-racism trainers and reached the same conclusion, i.e. underlying this new anti-racism is a rejection of capitalism, rationalism and excellence. Here’s a sample about an antiracism trainer named Marcus Moore:
In Hartford, Moore directed us to a page in our training booklets: a list of white values. Along with “ ‘The King’s English’ rules,” “objective, rational, linear thinking” and “quantitative emphasis,” there was “work before play,” “plan for future” and “adherence to rigid time schedules.” Moore expounded that white culture is obsessed with “mechanical time” — clock time — and punishes students for lateness. This, he said, is but one example of how whiteness undercuts Black kids. “The problems come when we say this way of being is the way to be.” In school and on into the working world, he lectured, tremendous harm is done by the pervasive rule that Black children and adults must “bend to whiteness, in substance, style and format.”
Getting back to the Rogan interview, Shapiro then gave a description of the 1619 Project and how its vision of America differs from the traditional one in seeing racism as the most fundamental aspect of American life.
Rogan made the argument that “historically, it’s fairly recent.” He said, “If you go from the Civil Rights movement to 2020 we’re really not talking about that much time.” Shapiro agreed that in the span of human history it wasn’t long and Rogan argued that there is “some impact” of racism and then Jim Crow laws. Rogan suggested there must be a middle ground between the 1619 Project view of history and the traditional view. Shapiro agreed but argued “Yeah, but I don’t think it lies in the dead center of that as much as people want it to.”
Shapiro then argued that the solution to a lot of our current problems involved “people making better choices over time” or, put another way, individual agency. Rogan continued to push back with the idea that the experience of black Americans, who were brought here against their will as property, was unique and not directly comparable to the stories of other immigrant groups. He suggested that telling people to make better choices was too simplistic when, in many cases, people in poor neighborhoods don’t have good role models. Shapiro’s retort was to return to the 1619 Project and argue, “When you teach people that they are the victims or a society it makes it very difficult for them to succeed.”
There’s a lot more to the discussion from there but ultimately Rogan asked Shapiro what he would do to solve some of the problems black Americans face in places like Baltimore and Chicago if he were “the king of the world.”
“Here’s the unpopular view but it happens to be empirically correct,” Shapiro said. He continued, “The first thing you have to do is you have to load the place with police. You’ve got to load the place with police because you’ve got to stop crime. Once you stop crime, then businesses are happy to invest in those areas. You’re not going to get businesses to invest in those areas and provide jobs unless crime is gone…You have to make sure that law-abiding people are protected, that law-abiding businesses are protected. That people want to live there. That people want to invest there.”
And a few sentences later he said it, “You need to provide a safe space for business to work and for free speech to flourish and for education to be valued. You need to go and you need to make clear to every kid [that] if you graduate high school then you will have a shot at college.”
Again, it’s not the kind of safe space SJWs have in mind, i.e. a place where they can escape hearing opinions they don’t like. His is a better ideal of a safe space. It’s also the complete opposite of where many of our cities seem to be going with current plans to defund police. So if you agree with the content of this discussion then you’d also have to say we’re headed in the wrong direction.
Here’s the portion of the interview on the topic of race. If you want to see the full interview, it’s here.