I am one of three students of color on this newspaper and the only black student on it (as of April 15th). You may be wondering why I brought my race into the conversation. I did that because I am here to talk about tokenism and representation.
As you can see from the original Outback logo, there are two people of color and one person that I can only assume to be white based off of their hair type and hue. I initially took issue with this. How could an upcoming newspaper, run by mainly white participants, so blatantly be using people of color to appear inclusive?
When inquiring about the logo, I was met with words like “inclusivity,” “representation,” and “diversity”, but those words mean absolutely nothing without action behind them. I didn’t have the words to describe how I felt about the logo in the meeting, despite being urged to express my thoughts. I could only suspect that the participants on the board were seeking constructive criticism.
In that moment, I felt tokenized, and as if I was wasting the one opportunity given to me to use my voice to stand up for something that I believed in. I was the one black voice in the room to verbalize why the original logo, for the very paper I’m writing for, was tokenizing and problematic. I did not have the words then, but now I do.
The Outback Newspaper logo, as I was told, was supposed to represent Pitzer. In my opinion, the logo does not do that. The logo suggests that a large portion of the Pitzer population is made up of students of color. Pitzer, like many colleges in the United States, is a predominately white institution. Yet Pitzer students are well educated (or perform to be), on these sorts of issues. This is not to say that the logo was not thought-provoking or beautiful, I love seeing black people as the centers of change, but I do not think that the previous logo was a true representation of Pitzer or the demographics of this newspaper.
However, I do want my voice and the voices of other black students on this campus to be heard. I would love to have a newspaper in which the majority of contributors were people of color. I would love to see better representation of the unique experiences, voices, and art of those that mainstream media and society at large has so deeply misjudged
So it is my hope that this logo and this newspaper can be a call to action to get more people of color involved in these conversations. I do not want to spend my duration on this paper as the black voice because we as a people are so unique in our thought processes and understandings.
No matter the level of commitment, I want to hear more truly diverse voices, whatever that may mean to the reader.
With that being said, I did not want the logo to change for this exact reason. A fellow student worked long and hard to draft and produce it. While I do not think this logo represents Pitzer, I think it represents what Pitzer should or could be. I invite you all to open your eyes and hearts to the ways in which your own actions could change to create a future for Pitzer that could be truly diverse, inclusive and representative.
Kaila T. is a first year at Pitzer College from Atlanta, Georgia. She is majoring in Anthropology with an emphasis on food and is minoring in Italian Studies.