I have to drag myself into a certain mentality to prepare to not be a “token.”
In this second year it’s become more and more prevalent that many issues don’t die or go away, they manifest themselves in different people and situations.
Bigotry, racism, sexism and homophobia are draining to be around.
Discussing those issues is even more draining.
When I applied to be a columnist, I thought I would make a difference and change something, anything.
From the emails and responses I received on my columns, it was clear that I did reach people that would not have encountered my point of view otherwise.
But at this point, I no longer feel like there’s something I can do or say to provoke change.
I finally pinpointed the change when I realized that the voice in the back of my head that restrains me from turning in my resignation letter doesn’t say, “You love your column, why would you drop it?,” but, “Someone has to do it, so why don’t you?”
I’ve tokenized myself — in limiting my topics and conforming my voice to what I thought would be the most well-received — and the sadness I felt when I discovered that is indescribable.
The obligation I feel to keep writing should never have developed.
I write, week after week, not because I love it, but because I feel that as a Black woman on this campus and staff member of The Daily Tar Heel, I have to.
My voice has merit and my opinions matter with or without a byline.
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I’ve always known this, but I think in my mind I saw the privilege of being a columnist as the sole qualifier for me to share my thoughts and opinions.
I need space and time to write on my own, and not for anyone else’s consumption.
I don’t know where my spark went, but I’m hoping I’ll find it soon and that it will change me for the better.