The Invisible Representation

By Nikwich Wright

nikdrumStanford University prides itself on how diverse and multi-cultural the campus and the students are. I beg to differ, especially with the current severed ties from Divesting from Israel. This problem has always been occurring within the Native American Community throughout this past academic year, where the play “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” almost happened but changed once the Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO) stepped in to culturally appropriate the issue.

One media group known as The Stanford Review brought the issue up again calling SAIO militaristic because of them ending the play. The Review did not reach out to SAIO or to any other students within the Native American Community to hear their side of the story. During a closed community meeting to reassure just for the Native community to prove that their allegations were false, the editors of the Stanford Review came in and argued about what consists of free speech and why SAIO’s culturally justified action was wrong.

They made false accusations to belittle and oppress those that would speak reason and knowledge against their claims. They baited us to rebute to their arguments, but only on their terms just like every other oppressor. We never took the bait because they would continue to bring up other arguments to attack us until they win. Until they silence us, speak for us and create the problems for us to deal with. We had to be forced into the stereotype no one ever knows about Native Americans: that we are an underrepresented minority invisible to the rest of the world.

Moving to present time with the current New York Times article claiming the Stanford Students of Color Coalition to be anti-semitic, the problem derives from misrepresentation of the people. I talked with a friend that involves herself with the Jewish community here at Stanford and they never were confronted about the issue either.

Their voices were silenced along with ours by the ignorant voices of media. The exercise of free speech in the New York Times article oppresses both sides of their claim.

When does fact and opinion matter when writing about something that will make people react in outrage or fear? This is where we draw the line of what must be free and must not be said due to common knowledge. Once we all acquire the provided knowledge, we can transcend the line and understand why it never should be crossed by the media’s aggravating approach in the first place. Communication is key to pass information onward, but don’t let the empowerment of free speech muddy the realism of the world we live in.

If people choose to remain ignorant, let them be, and make them the prime example as to why empathy and sympathy is the strongest moral and humane response to this oppression we face from the media. Let’s use our energy to focus on the future and not the past. We will rise, we will be heard.