I am the social media coordinator for the Trinitonian. As such, every day I highlight stories from the paper on our social media platforms. I do this job because I love the Trinitonian. Though there are legitimate concerns and things that can and need to be improved on, I have always admired the Trinitonian’s dedication to publishing stories about the actions of marginalized communities, thought-provoking opinion columns and just factual, important news about our campus and community.
However, when I saw the editorial “Unity in Politics” published by the editors of our newspaper, I was disappointed and upset.
When I applied to Trinity I wrote about diversity. Not just about racial, gender and sexual orientation, but the diversity of opinions and, therefore, the diversity of politics. I came from a family that, at the time, I thought represented the full political spectrum in our country. My parents, one liberal and the other conservative, instilled in me the importance of respecting everyone’s viewpoints, even if you disagreed with them.
And so, following what my parents have always ingrained in me, when I came to campus I did my best to interact with those who disagreed with me. I soon discovered, however, that people didn’t just disagree with my ideas.
In attempting to have discussions, I was told that as a Muslim, I didn’t deserve the same rights as my Christian counterparts. I was told surveilling my neighborhood and other Muslim communities were justified as these were “breeding grounds for terrorists.” They just didn’t disagree with my arguments or ideas — they disagreed that I, as a Muslim, had any claims to civil liberties laid out in the Constitution.
They disagreed when I demanded that Trinity should force professors, even tenured, to adhere to the basic requirements of the American Disability Acts. They disagreed with me and other students’ demands and pleas that marginalized groups on campus be given the same consideration as white students.
People who disagree with people of color on this campus equate blackness to sin and sex and tell us that we drag Trinity’s reputation and academic performance down by being at this school.
I still understand where the editors were coming from when they published this piece. In theory, discussions of controversial issues with people who disagree with you sound like a post-racial liberal arts education nirvana. However, in reality, as any marginalized student can tell you, those discussions operate a hateful and prejudicial discourse that cannot be dismantled in one conversation.
So for the Trinitonian’s all-white executive staff to tell us that we should “take a breath and learn why you disagree with some people” or that “you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar” when the people who “disagree” with us “disagree” with our existence and fundamental rights is disheartening, disrespectful and thoughtless.