To the apparent consternation of students demonstrating for racial justice at the University of Missouri, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro crashed their so-called “safe space.”
“Welcome to America, where people get to say what they want,” Shapiro said during a Thursday night speech at Mizzou.
Shapiro, 31, senior editor-at-large at Breitbart News and editor-in-chief at DailyWire.com, addressed an overflow crowd of conservative students and 130,000 viewers online, shedding light on safe spaces, microaggressions and privilege.
“You’re in a safe space, thank God. It’s called America,” Shapiro told Mizzou students. “Learn to appreciate it or get out.”
A safe space, set up by protesters who call for more diversity, restricts those who may hold a different perspective. Microaggression is a term some use to mean an act of unintended discrimination.
Students at Mizzou “wanted to create a blacks-only safe space,” Shapiro told The Daily Signal.
In recent weeks, students at college campuses around the country have broken out in protest, with demands such as hiring more faculty of color and eliminating perceived threats such as bulletproof vests worn by campus police.
At Mizzou, Shapiro said:
If you can’t show systemic racism at Mizzou, you instead rely on stupid garbage like white privilege and microaggressions to help you create a safe space. Grow up, gang. You’re not doing yourselves, the school, or the country any good at all with this sort of nonsense. You’re making actual racism and aggression more common.
Both the president of the University of Missouri system and the chancellor of the flagship campus resigned after racial uproar broke out.
“White privilege is a way of shutting down debate,” Shapiro said to The Daily Signal. “It’s a way just to make people shut up based on the color of their skin.”
Shapiro told the Mizzou crowd:
You’re basically saying to white people, that aren’t racist and you can’t find any proof of their racism, that they must be racist because they’re white. That is called racism.
Shapiro said microaggressions also shut down debate. For instance, it’s an excuse used to call the cops if feelings get hurt.
At Mizzou, protesters tried to keep reporters out of a safe space zone and threatened to call police.
Shapiro called the Mizzou administration “cowards” for giving in to “racial radicals” on campus. He said:
It’s really quite despicable that the administration has incentivized rabble-rousing at the cost of higher education everywhere from Princeton to Mizzou.
There are a tiny number of people who are making a lot of trouble. There weren’t that many people who were upset about anything that was going on at the administration level on campus.
Shapiro said more people probably came to his lecture, around 375, than belonged to the Concerned Student 1950 group, who pushed for Mizzou’s president, Tim Wolfe, to resign.
A “huge number of kids” want to “study, get their degree, hang out with the other students, and … are not interested in this kind of rabble-rousing,” he said.
On the other hand, protesters allied with Concerned Student 1950 (named for the year the university admitted its first black student) want the university to hire more black faculty and increase funding for social justice centers on campus, among other demands.
“Continue to be in solidarity by challenging anti-black racism, capitalistic oppression, & all forms of violence in your institutions!” Concerned Student 1950 tweeted during the time slated for Shapiro’s speech.
Emily Jashinsky, spokeswoman for Young America’s Foundation, told The Daily Signal:
In our opinion, the hundreds of conservative students who showed up to hear Shapiro at Mizzou should be a wake-up call that there’s a huge silent majority on college campuses, desperate for somebody to stand up to the leftists.
Shapiro said event staffers told him that members of Concerned Students 1950 were present outside the back of the lecture room but began to “abandon ship as the event went on.”
“I was really hoping that some of the folks on the other side would show up and at least try to debate,” he said. “They didn’t.”