Editors note: On choosing sides

One of the first editorials I ever wrote for The Cord was titled “Having an opinion as a friend and a journalist.”

This article featured the typical fare of run-of-the-mill journalist jargon, where one projects accountability onto all other parties but themselves.

From the standpoint of a journalist, I don’t think there is anything wrong with this.

I think being objective in your reporting — especially as a news journalist — is something that can set a tone of quality in your writing.

With that being said, my oft-perceived status as some sort of “radical centrist” has made it exponentially more difficult for me to choose sides.

My indecisiveness is so apparent that people joke about my vague political statements.

While I will always find it important to remain objective when reporting on the news — and I will strive to do so throughout my tenure as Editor-in-Chief at The Cord — it has become more apparent to me that having wishy-washy opinions on everything can make you seem uninformed, or at the very least, completely apathetic.

And rightfully so.

Navigating through the world with this sense of privilege meant, for a long time, that I felt like it wasn’t my place to speak on behalf of people in marginalized groups. I avoided touchy subjects and put on my typical display of fervent fence-sitting.

Working in student media and having such a large platform creates a certain sense of urgency, of obligation.

When I started this job, I had set it in my mind that I wouldn’t let my personal politics influence — or be influenced by — my work in student media.

That changed rather quickly.

I have begun to realize the importance of imparting political views onto the editorial section of the newspaper.

I also am starting to realize that taking a stance does not always lead to a compromise in journalistic integrity in fact, it often has quite the opposite effect.

Taking a stance on something can be empowering and as a white male, I recognize the power of the privilege that has been afforded to me throughout my own lived experience.

Navigating through the world with this sense of privilege meant, for a long time, that I felt like it wasn’t my place to speak on behalf of people in marginalized groups. I avoided touchy subjects and put on my typical display of fervent fence-sitting.

Even as a self-identified Indigenous person with Metis status, I still always felt like my complexion and comfortable life meant that I would never truly understand the issues that face people in marginalized communities.

Though it may be true that I will never fully understand these issues from a personal perspective, this type of hands off approach was admittedly quite problematic.

As I have become more engaged in the conversations that are taking place in the media and on campus, I have learned that there are plenty of ways that I can do my part — as both the editor of a student newspaper and on a smaller scale, as a person coming from a place of privilege.

The first step towards exercising my own privilege in order to benefit others merely involved getting off the fence and cutting out all of the indecisive, wishy-washy bullshit.

One Comment

  1. as a person coming from a place of privilege.

    You were doing so well up till then.

    Everyone attending Wilfred Laurier is privileged. You can not raise other people up by prostrating yourself, so pick yourself up out of the dirt. Don’t apologize for who you are … ever.

Leave a Reply