a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications
by Kya Adetoro
Now please, understand that the following are in no way an authoritative set of rules—I certainly don’t have that type of power, rather these are reflections that I think a lot about as I engage in these conversations, and hopefully, they speak to or make sense to you.
N.B: Now, if you come at me crazy, without reading my previous sentence, I will [respectfully] dismiss you.
1. Understand that what for you [read: any privileged, majority identifying person] may be an “intellectual” conversation is my [underprivileged and minority] lived experience.
You have the privilege of “opt-ing in” to the conversation, whether it be in a course, on Facebook, in the comments section of Middbeat or the Campus, but as for me—I live this.
I live someone’s parent coming up to me asking how I can afford to attend Middlebury. #nohometraining
I live in someone touching my hair and being surprised when it doesn’t feel like a Brillo pad or being told that my curls look like little macaroni. #wheretheydothatat
I live in being told that one white person should treat another white person fairly because they have the same color skin (I was told this last week, in fact). #microANDmacroagressions
So yes, please keep opt-ing in, and let’s talk about everything you’ve been reading and want to discuss.
But No, don’t expect me to exclude the experiences that I have everyday, especially when they are hurtful and I don’t get the option of “opt-ing out”.
N.B.: If this is exclusively an intellectual experience for you, but an experiential, emotional, and personal pursuit for me- we’re already starting off on unequal footing for this dance. Don’t expect toes to not get stepped on…
2. It’s okay to lean into discomfort for the conversation because I live in it. If you aren’t uncomfortable, you aren’t really here.
3. It is not “my” job to make sweet what “you” have made sour. This stuff is messy, and I’ll get messy with you. However, if you want a cupcake, go to Otter Creek Bakery.
I’m not going to write or speak in the tongue of power so that you can stomach it.
4. We inherit our identities, and the social strata they exist on. No one is asking you, personally, to pay 40 acres and a mule. We’re asking you to…
5. Get rid of your internalized dominance. Do not walk into the spaces that we create, maintain, and nurture for safety and try to dominate (or disrupt) the conversation. #itsnotaboutyou
6. “Don’t come for me unless I send for you” or, unless I address you or something you said or did directly, don’t get defensive and up in arms- you might be creating a problem or issue that wasn’t there to begin with. Then things get messy boots and you will be asked to have a seat.
7. Reserve racism, and sexism for that matter, doesn’t exist- so don’t even suggest it. Prejudices can and do exist across cultures and identities. But racism and sexism are historical, involve structures of power, and much more- these aren’t actions that minority or marginalized parties have the power to participate both now and previously. To suggest otherwise will invalidate your point.
to be continued…
(find me on twitter, but don’t tweet me your crazy)