Last week, opinion writer Adam Wojcik took the time to comment on the title of and content within my weekly column this semester. The one thing he failed to consider is the inspiration behind and intent of my pieces. Even more unfortunately, that’s all one might find worth considering.
While I got the sense Wojcik takes fundamental issue with some of the arguments I’ve made, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he simply takes issue with the seemingly personal arguments lining my “objective”-headlined column. After all, he asserted “I don’t entirely disagree with his views…”
So, for Wojcik’s benefit, I’ll take the time to explain my column’s headline, content and shed some light on the passion that pushes my writing.
The column is titled “Objective look,” as I am often times not a member of the communities I discuss or directly affected by the social and systemic issues I detail. And that’s precisely what makes my opinions objective; I’m looking from an outside place, with an analytical eye and no direct bias on matters I discuss. With regard to the few topics where I may have had a predisposition to bias, I went into each piece’s composition practicing unbiased analysis.
I think that sort of admittance is the first step to avoiding the problematic nature of piece’s like opinion writer Luke Nolan’s; I’m admitting my opinions are objective in my “outsider” identity to the issues – upfront. And my “I think” statements are curated from in-depth conversations with those actually affected.
In my piece “Objective look: XXXTENTACION,” discussing rapper XXXTENTACION’s problematic “Look At Me!” music video, I focus on racial inequality against the black community. As my column portrait shows, that’s a demographic I don’t hail from, but one I care very much about. Here, my objective look was critically looking, as an unaffected party, at how this sort of propaganda hinders the black community, rather than helps it.
In writing this piece, I spoke with a multitude of my friends of color, all in a commitment to uncover a well-scoped look at how X’s visual statement made them feel. Again, this resonates as objective thought because I’m thinking out of the scope of my own personal, human experience.
In my piece “Drop the mic, men,” which seemed to specifically upset Wojcik, I discuss Nolan’s piece on contraceptives – one which I saw a great deal of anger towards online and amongst women in my academic cohort. That’s where I began thinking objectively. I, a man, tried to think of how it would feel to have others consistently speak for me and my body – because, as a man, I have been fortunate to never experience that level of suppression simply due to my biological sex. That sort of thought is, in fact, objective, as it comes from a place of thought outside the impacted community.
Unlike Nolan, I took the time to consult women – close and estranged to me – in curating my piece. And, from those conversations, I derived a well-polished opinion. Also adding to that objective nature, I utilized statistics and specific references to the video that fueled Nolan’s rant – statistics that didn’t land in Nolan’s own piece.
In my article “Less politics, more empathy,” I read hours of content online, had grueling conversations with family, friends and, again, those I don’t know all that well. Why? In an attempt to curate my own opinion on gun control, as a non-gun owner and one unaffected by gun violence – all steeped in thoughtful conversation.
And, yes, my piece “Coming Out Day” was personal, as I am an out gay man, but this was not a personal writing piece. I shared my personal experiences – but that’s not to say my past in coming to accept myself fueled my opinion on the annual holiday. Again, I spoke with others, read content online and, once again, thought through the broader lens of the LGBTQ+ community – while I only prescribe to one letter within that acronym.
See, what Wojcik fails to realize is that my column’s title alludes to the concept that each and every one of these pieces is steeped in objective thought due to the simple reason I’m not relying on personal experiences – and, furthermore, I’m often thinking critically, as an outsider, about how injustice impacts those outside the communities I’ve been born into.
The whole inspiration behind my column is proving to doubtful conservatives that I, a liberal, am capable of breaking through the PC barriers of the “liberal agenda” they so much hate. I’ve consulted a wide range of individuals and, as a column is meant to, especially in the arts and life section, I’ve garnered unbiased opinions on the issues that affect our brothers and sisters’ lives. What’s more life-based than human rights issues?
So, no, I won’t be pandering to Wojcik’s push to move my column to the opinion section. My column is on life in the most vulnerable form. My column’s name is true to its content. And, the column’s name aside, I’d like to inform Wojcik that columns are often categorized by the opinion infused throughout the content within.
So, as Wojcik urges me to think more “objectively,” dubbing my column a failure, I’d have a much more difficult ask: Focus less on a headline, my use of the word “we” (a term reminiscent of community) and more on how you too can spark change, personal growth and opportunities for those less fortunate. It’s a better use of time than undermining one’s credibility.
Objective look will continue in its usual location, the features section, next week.