The Oberlin Review

Privilege Means Choosing Silence

Chloe Vassot, Contributing Writer

September 25, 2015

To speak has always been a political act. The urge to protect one’s right to speak, the most basic method of communication — in a way the most intimate, most direct route from your mind to another’s — is inherently understandable and incontestable. The unwavering belief in this right is part of what has been driving the ever-growing number of think-pieces criticizing colleges and students for the “policing” of free speech and the prevalence of “politically correct” speech that is beginning to dominate certain campuses. This examination of the politics of speech is needed, but not when the goal is exclusively to find the weaknesses in our liberal arts schooling. The politics of speech, of who gets to ...

Oberlin Fails to Support Students

Sam White, Contributing Writer

May 8, 2015

In September, when my dear friends and classmates return for their final year at Oberlin College, I’ll be going elsewhere. I’ll be joining the unspoken masses of Obies taking time off to go anywhere, frankly, that isn’t here. Miraculously, through luck and persistence, I’ll be leaving in good academic standing, on personal rather than medical leave, with good prospects for returning and finishing my degree. Stories and numbers from semesters past, however, serve as reminders that there are no guarantees and that some of these students will not be so fortunate. My ambitious, half-baked, exciting, eccentric plans for the fall — an unmapped road trip, a journalistic video blog on food justice and hopefully...

OSCA Lacks Awareness of Oppressive Systems

Cara Welch-Rubin, Contributing Writer

December 12, 2014

The following critique of the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association is not the first time anyone has raised these issues. Many people have experienced or continue to experience various forms of classism, white supremacy, ableism and other manifestations of oppression within OSCA. My critique only serves to join these discourses and bring them to the attention of other white, able-bodied OSCAns. In a recent co-op discussion, one co-oper said, “OSCA is not some shady government.” While I can’t claim to acknowledge all forms of oppression within OSCA, I hope to undermine this misconception by shedding light on some of the forms of oppression that I have seen and experienced firsthand. I stayed behind from...

On Radiolab, Privileged Voices Prevail

Lisa-Qiao MacDonald and Tanya Tran

September 12, 2014

Radiolab: dedicated to curiosity, storytelling and getting to the “fact of the matter.” What does it look like, though, when the search for “truth” — supposedly objective and just — ends up privileging certain voices and narratives over others? It looks like Western people speaking over marginalized communities. It looks like disrespect. It looks like the suppression of untold histories. It looks like Radiolab’s segment called “Yellow Rain.” Justin Eckstein offers the following summary in an article titled “Yellow Rain and the Sound of the Matter: Kalia Yang’s Sonorous Objection to Radiolab”: “Released on September 24, 2012 as part of the episode titled, ‘The Fact of the Matter,...

Administration Begins Implementation of Several Working Group Proposals

Oliver Bok

September 20, 2013

The Oberlin administration is incrementally implementing many of the proposals put forward by student working groups in the wake of the bias incidents last spring. Although several of the proposals have been accepted, several remain to be seen. In response to the student proposals, the administration agreed to construct a new fitness center in the southwest basement area of South Hall. Vice President and Dean of Students Eric Estes described the new gym as being in the “planning stages” and said that he hoped the facility would be ready for use by the end of the semester. “There were a lot of conversa- tions last semester about mental health and wellness on campus. Exercise is a huge part of that, so [not...

Conversation As First Response To Adversity

Matt Hartsock, Jon Levin, Josh Morse, Josh Laufer, David Fischer, and Adam Darer

April 5, 2013

As six housemates from the class of 2012, we have been deeply affected by the recent hate crimes on Oberlin’s campus. Needing to process our thoughts and feelings, and encouraged by the example set by the Oberlin community, we came together as friends and classmates to discuss our own experiences of privilege, oppression and bias at Oberlin. While we represent a variety of religious backgrounds and sexual orientations, we recognize that as white, cis-gendered men we are limited in our understanding of the personal impact of these attacks. Acknowledging that experiences of privilege and oppression differ among individuals, we believe that our community needs to strive for empathy and understanding through open dialogue. This...

Authenticity Through Identity a Misguided Concept

Taiyo Scanlon-Kimura

April 5, 2013

College senior AD Hogan’s recent apology letter to the Review deeply upsets me. I understand the motivation behind the interruption of Krislov’s interview with CNN, though not through any productive communication offered by AD or the other students involved. I understand because I have felt misled before by persons claiming transparency and cooperation, though I believe Krislov and the rest of the Oberlin administration have worked extremely hard to do what is right by everyone and that the sabotage of that interview was unwarranted. What makes my opinion supposedly different from hundreds of other students with similar feelings is my identity. I am lucky enough to be half-Japanese which, according to the stan...

OSCA’s Decision To Kick Out Kosher-Halal Co-op Upsetting, Disappointing

Hannah Seidel

April 5, 2013

On March 17, the OSCA Board of Directors decided to remove Kosher-Halal Co-op from the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association. As a member of both organizations, I am deeply ashamed of OSCA for this decision. I am disappointed, I am upset, and I am angry. I am ashamed because throughout this process, the OSCA Board and General Management Team have been uncooperative and dishonest to their membership. This important decision should have been made by OSCA as a whole, because democratic member control — one member, one vote — is one of the core principles on which OSCA was founded. However, because the Board met in confidential “Executive Sessions,” behind closed doors (perhaps “under the table” would be...

New Club Addresses Male Privilege

William Passannante, Staff Writer

February 22, 2013

Signs for a “Dudes Collective,” which have been hanging around campus since the beginning of this semester, have garnered both positive and negative attention from several members of the Oberlin community. The group, which has tentatively changed its name to “Masculinity and Male Allyship,” held its first meeting Wednesday, Feb. 13. Posters for the group, advertising an organization called “Men’s Club” or “Oberlin Dudes Collective,” read, in small print, “How cis males can recognize the privilege we have and best be allies to women, queers, transgender folk, and each other[,] ... work towards gender equality and a non-violent, rape-free society ... All are welcome.” This message proved problematic...

Thoughts on Appropriate Action in Face of Racism

Mandy Hogan

April 20, 2012

To the Editors: I write this letter to call for recognition, for acknowledgement, for responsibility. I recognize the gross injustices against communities of color on campus, in the town and in greater society, along with the historical and current repression of LGBTQ people. I acknowledge that I am privileged by my race, perceived class status and gender identity. Society calls people who do this “allies,” but I take responsibility for the fact that I am not an ally — because the word suggests that I am making things better, and while I strive to practice an anti-racist politic, all too often I am able to be silent, and silence is complicity. I am a white, queer woman who has lived in Third World House and...

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