Do You Want A Seat At The Table? On Navigating an Ivory Tower
Who’s Newsroom is it Anyway?
By Javanna Plummer
“I’m stoked they’re paying for you to go to South Africa,” another student said to me.
At Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Masters students are required to take a reporting trip somewhere outside of Chicago, and my trip is to Johannesburg, South Africa. After finding out that Northwestern would cover my flight and housing, I put a status on Facebook expressing how happy I was, since the aid would lift a financial burden off my shoulders.
A few days after I made this status, I passed by this other student, and he made this strange comment. I have not forgotten it.
Maybe it was the way he said it, or that he was referring to a status I had put up days ago, or how his tone screamed, “Affirmative Action is disadvantaging white people!”
His “praise” was likely racism in disguise.
I don’t believe he is actually “stoked” that Northwestern is paying for my trip. He is likely mad that I am getting a virtually free trip while hardworking people like him must pay out of pocket. I mean, what made me so special that I should have my trip paid for?
This, I feel like, is what he meant to say, or what he said when I was not around.
What he missed in his backhanded remark is that I still have to cover other trip related costs (like insurance, getting my passport, putting aside spending money, etc). Then, Northwestern is astronomically expensive, so I have to keep up with my rigorous coursework while maintaining a part time job because new expenses seem to pop up every other week. I also have massive debt looming over my head when I finish school.