The Statesman has had a lot of opinions this year. Last week we published opposing pieces about the New York Constitutional Convention. We have written about plumbing and electricity on campus. We have taken national stories like “Me too” and written our thoughts with the campus community in mind. But we are not perfect.
There are stories we do not or cannot write. We do not know enough or are not even aware of countless phenomena that affect members of Stony Brook University. Sometimes we pitch ideas for articles but have no one who feels comfortable writing about them.
I am a white, Jewish, cis straight man who did not really have non-Jewish friends until I came to campus at 19. I lived in Israel for four years, Staten Island for two and Nassau County for the rest. My stories, my expertise and my ideas are constrained by my background. And there are more stories that I am not qualified to write but would love to see written.
Two years ago, Hanaa’ Tameez, the then editor-in-chief of The Statesman, wrote an editorial about the lack of diversity among the models of the paper’s Sex and Relationships Issue. She wrote that while no students were targeted or rejected when looking for models, the only students who responded that year were white.
Two years later, I find myself writing similarly about the Opinions section. This year our writers have been overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male. We have had only three femme-identifying writers.
As much as I enjoy writing about global warming, smoking on campus and deadlines for professors, I am, by definition, missing stories that people care about. I am, by definition, spreading opinions that members of campus disagree with. Challenge me. Open the campus collective mind to problems we do not think about.
The Opinions section has the power to reach more than 25,000 people and spark conversations that can lead to real change. It is a shame that so few students take advantage of it.
What are you passionate about? What scares you? What should be changed? How did you get to where you are now? What do you value? Why should I care?
Answer these and other questions I did not know to ask.
Make a difference. Write.