Last week there were many responses to the much talked about Valentine’s Day issue The Scout published. As a senior, I have never seen such unity and mobilization between student organizations for one cause at Bradley. I have never seen a hashtag such as #NotOurVoice bring so many students and faculty together to speak out against the insensitivity displayed in these articles. On one hand, I was quite happy to see our campus come together. On the other hand, this outrage left me more frustrated than the articles themselves. Let me be very clear, my frustration is not because I think the articles were appropriate, because they weren’t. They were heteronormative, slut shaming, transphobic, sexist, body shaming, misleading and promoting rape culture. I am not disagreeing with that at all.
However, when NWC, a comedic race play, was brought to campus last semester and there was similar outrage afterwards it fell on deaf ears. There was no petition. There was no hashtag in support of the students of color who were offended. Why? Because it didn’t effect or identify with the majority. Because unless something offensive directly effects you it IS a laughing matter. Was there some support for the outrage? Sure, a little. Yet, when there was concern voiced about how Black, Hispanic and Asian people were being portrayed I was told that in order to talk about race and stereotypes it needs to be comedic “to make people feel more comfortable.” So that rule doesn’t apply to sex and societal categories such as gender and sexuality? It only applies when I pull the “race card?” I talked to many students who couldn’t even admit nor acknowledge that NWC was insensitive and inappropriate yet a large portion of campus attended the event. Just like the satire of the Valentine’s Day issue was meant to be funny, and it wasn’t, the comedy of NWC was meant to be funny, and it wasn’t. Where were the voices then?
I am not bashing anyone for fighting against the misrepresentation of our campus community or trying to bring up “old news.” That’s not my point because how and when we come together as a student body is very relevant. Feel free to agree or disagree. As many people commented last week we have freedom of speech to express ourselves. I just want to put it into perspective because now you all understand why so many students were upset with NWC. It misrepresented minority students on campus just as much as those articles misrepresented the genders and sexualities at Bradley. Letting your voice be heard for important social issues is great and I am all for it. But don’t claim you are advocating for diversity and inclusion when it only affects you and/or your cause. We are getting better, but we have a long way to go.
– Sojourner “Sojo” White
Psychology and Spanish Major, Women’s Studies Minor ’16