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From the Editor’s Desk: Parting words


Editor in Chief Yasna Haghdoost

By Yasna Haghdoost     4/19/17 8:00am

My baby is all grown up. But then again, the Thresher was never my baby. After all, I am simply one of many in a long line of stewards who voluntarily foisted a stick up their ass for an entire year to produce a college weekly. I’m going to hazard a guess that more than one person reading this really dislikes me. Maybe you think I’m a socialist or a feminazi, or I ruined your professional aspirations when the Thresher quoted you saying something embarrassing that you did, in fact, say on the record. Or maybe you think I’m a crazy beyotch who gets off from critiquing the Student Association’s many, many, constitutional violations.

I’m not here to convince you I’m a nice person, because as editor-in-chief, that was never part of the job description. Of course, this isn’t to say that we never stumble, as on more than one occasion a discerning reader has approached us with legitimate critiques and questions regarding our coverage. (This excludes hysterical accusations of bias by people angry that we did/didn’t write a candidate endorsement, or who don’t know the difference between a news article and an editorial. These are all filed under the “personal problems” category.) Plunged into the deep end, I have, along with the rest of the editorial team, navigated the tempest that is Rice’s social and political scene to try to bring you comprehensive and inclusive news coverage every week.

Throughout this process, I’ve come to see more clearly than before that Rice really isn’t the bubble we’ve always made it out to be. Rather, as many other have also pointed out, it’s a microcosm and a reflection of the world around us. Unwelcome foreign bodies trying to influence our elections? Check. (Accidental) voter disenfranchisement? Check. Catty mudslinging from candidates and their supporters? You bet. The media being accused of peddling “fake news”? Hell yeah.

Of course, this doesn’t even begin to capture the myriad problems our Rice community struggles with, whether it’s protecting the undocumented students among us, advocating for gender-neutral bathrooms, addressing sexual violence, or combatting racism, sexism and prejudice in its many iterations here on our campus.

The Thresher strives to shed light on these issues, because it is all too tempting for Rice students to ignore the problems we see in the world around us and brush them off with a decisive, “This isn’t us.” Sadly though, that’s simply not true. Working for the Thresher and more broadly as a Rice student, I have witnessed and experienced firsthand women interrupted and brushed aside, their opinions dismissed or questioned in ways that their male counterparts absolutely did not encounter. I have seen intellectual discussions tinged with disturbingly casual Islamophobia and anti-Semitism — often unwittingly, to my horror. My personal experiences and observations are but a scratch on the surface of the small, but deeply frustrating, injustices many Rice community members continue to face.

Sometimes I worry that attempts to rectify these problems are made more difficult by a prevailing sentiment among Rice students to be nice, nonconfrontational and conciliatory. And it’s true: We all love Rice. But when you love something, you want it to be the best it can possibly be. You can never be satisfied until the school that you cherish, that you’ve called your home for so many formative years, that has provided you with so many opportunities, reaches its potential as an equitable, inclusive and just institution.

As the Thresher Managing Editor Anita Alem once said in all her infinite wisdom, “I didn’t come here to make friends. I came here to get a degree and smash the patriarchy.”

So to that end, don’t aspire to be nice. Rather, be a bad bitch. If working at the Thresher has taught me anything, it is the importance of stepping on a few toes. Question everyone and everything. Engage in dialogue, especially with those from different backgrounds and whose opinions might vastly differ from yours. But also remember that sometimes, it’s OK to say “Fuck it, I’m done talking. Now let’s get back to work.”

Yasna Haghdoost is the Thresher Editor-in-Chief and a Will Rice College senior

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