By Anne Kehl, Managing Editor
I am a person of privilege. I have never gone hungry. I have always had a safe, caring home to fall asleep in. I have never had to worry about how I will get my homework done because I have always had internet access, and I have always had the school supplies I needed.
This in no way makes me a greater or lesser person than anyone else. I recognize my privilege and routinely check it.
According to March Twisdale’s article, “Classism: The Secret Bigotry of Affluent Liberal Communities,” that privilege shone through despite my efforts. However, while writing this article, I discovered that she had not only taken down the aforementioned article, but her entire website, www.marchtwisdale.com.
I hope this displays at least a small admission of wrongdoing.
I did, however, read her article before it was fatefully deleted off the internet. In it, Twisdale critiqued my article by stating that it made unwarranted and untrue assumptions about a group of people I didn’t know. She then proceeded to make countless unwarranted and untrue assumptions about not only me — but my mother. This is something I find deeply offensive — and almost comically ironic and hypocritical.
In their letter to the editor published in the Riptide, Jose Pedro Guerrero-Rivas, Isaac Chamblee and Isabelle Beytebiere make the claim that I single-handedly “created a divide within the school and community.” As I see it, I didn’t create it; I simply drew attention to it.
It is my job as a journalist to distinguish problems and call them out. I saw a problem, an injustice, and I called it out. In my article, I exercised my rights to freedom of speech and press adamantly expressed in the Constitution. Their claim, that I “took advantage of the paper’s privilege and position of power,” is ultimately meaningless as our paper is a public forum, meaning that anyone — not only our reporters — can submit work to be published in the paper, whether it be in the form of news articles, opinion editorials or letters to the editor: a liberty these individuals took advantage of when they did just that to critique my original article.
Not only does the paper accept articles from non-reporters, but there are no requirements to be a Riptide reporter. Any of these students could have joined the Riptide and had the same space for their opinion, yet it was their decision to not take part.
I admit I am a privileged person, but I do not include the Riptide in this privilege because it offers just the bare minimum of rights set forth by the Constitution, as mentioned before. This is also a privilege enjoyed by Guerrero-Rivas, Chamblee and Beytebiere — one they clearly have exercised as well.
My article actually served its intended purpose, something that even Twisdale admitted to in a twisted sort of way. While she categorized my article as a “learning opportunity,” my original goal was to spark a discussion. Although my intention was for the discussion to be centered around hall passes, it ultimately manifested itself in the form of discussing privilege.
Finally, to be clear, I named no names in my hall pass article. Guerrero-Rivas, Chamblee and Beytebiere self-identified after publication. If they themselves didn’t feel some sort of responsibility, they would not have related to the description of the group of students in my article.
And they blame me for this?
At the end of the day, I never have and never will apologize for voicing my opinion. I pride myself in tackling issues no one else will. Criticism is not new to me. Obviously, it is not new to Guerrero-Rivas, Chamblee or Beytebiere either — so I would invite them to join me in discussing privilege and its effects on the Vashon community.
Either way, my article was in no way an example of such an issue.