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This is The Spectrum, a weekly forum in our Opinion section for marginalized voices to share their perspectives. You can read more about the purpose and origin of The Spectrum here. To submit a piece for The Spectrum or discuss story ideas, please email [email protected].

Fear of ‘making it about race’ stops students of color from speaking out
“Northwestern is a campus with a strong, vocal activist community. However, outside that circle, I continue to see how students of oppressed identities — especially students of color — are subconsciously made to feel like they don’t belong.”

In defense of refugees, reflections on the Paris attacks
“Study abroad added nuance to my understanding of contemporary social and political issues, but I can’t say that it changed my views. If anything, it crammed a new urgency into my support for sanctuary cities and public education that values meaningful diversity.”

My reality of surviving sexual assault (Not just surviving)
“Male rape is more underreported than female rape and understandably so. Our society demands men be in control, particularly in the bedroom. Being taken advantage of sexually can be seen as emasculation in the extreme.”

Understanding my international identity at Northwestern
“My country gave me a family, a sense of loyalty and patriotism. In return, I must be an ambassador for Jordan, my homeland, and Palestine, my motherland. It is true that I do not relate to some of the topics my friends discuss, such as their high school experiences, but that does not mean I don’t have an opinion on matters unfamiliar to them. My voice is equal to theirs in magnitude and importance.”

Children shouldn’t always learn from parent’s mistakes
“The professor for my public speaking class had just told us to improvise a story with two conditions: it had to be decently humorous and autobiographical. I should’ve been overjoyed; I had written fiction in high school and before. Instead, I panicked – my mind was blank. What stories I did recall were either neutral or pessimistic or those of friends. How had I gotten to this point?”

Coming out as bisexual is not as sexy as you may think
“I’m a two on the Kinsey scale.

Developed in the late 1940s to categorize sexual orientation, the Kinsey scale is based on a sex-positive, action-based approach. Zero is 100 percent heterosexual, and a six is 100 percent homosexual. The scale was created in an attempt to break the binary of categorizing people as heterosexual or homosexual.”

Navigating mental health beyond Northwestern
“NU opens unlimited sessions at CAPS, but then closes the Women’s Center. Somewhere at the intersection of a terrible reputation, hidden resources and toxic culture, too many students aren’t getting the help they should.”

“The real lezpocalypse” — Why queer women need representation
“Representation, the idea that if people exist in real life they should also exist in fiction, newspapers and school curriculums, is praised for having a dramatic effect on people’s ideology. But more importantly, it helps little baby queers like my 10-year-old self understand that we aren’t monsters, we deserve love and happiness, and we deserve to live.”

Machismo mata/machismo kills
“My father’s machismo ideology conflicted with the expression of my identity as queer. I know that being queer makes my dad uncomfortable, as this is something he is not used to and the cultural norms of machismo rely on rigid heterosexuality and patriarchy.”

Existing outside of the gender binary
“In a world where trans people face violence and discrimination, publicly identifying as trans feels like setting up a target. Despite this, finding a word to describe myself was a breath of relief and a reminder of solidarity.”

Why Asian Americans should be politically conscious
“Although I cannot speak for all Asian Americans, I feel like many of us are unaware of the political issues embroiling America and lack a deep understanding of how Asian Americans have shaped American history. Although we, as a racial group, are relatively privileged compared to other minorities in America, this belief blinds us to the struggles that we face in America.”

Whitewashing of Asians in media represents a bigger issue
“Minority representation matters. It affects the way people view minorities and the way minorities view themselves. As incidents like the Oscars show, it’s important to talk about the scarcity of Asian representation, as well as the lack of representation of blacks, Latinos and other minorities. It shouldn’t just be other Asians speaking out about these injustices, like Ang Lee protesting the Asian jokes at the Oscars, or Constance Wu of “Fresh Off the Boat” and other Asian actors condemning the whitewashing in “Ghost in the Shell.””

There is no one Judaism, no one Zionism
“One of God’s many names in Judaism is ‘Shalom,’ which means ‘peace.’ To put an end to the desecration of God’s name, Israelis and Palestinians must learn to love one another today. But that can only happen in parallel with Jewish Israeli efforts — yes, even religiously-inspired efforts — to end the racism, the suffering, the occupation, the erasure of land and history.”

Northwestern has become toxic for discussions about marginalized communities
“Our campus has become so toxic that anyone — even a minority student — who shares any dissent with an opinion of a marginalized group, is considered hateful.”

LGBT media is too white
“Magazines such as Out and Attitude were designed to act as source of information and provide a voice to the oppressed; however, they have rarely featured those whose identities intersect with regard to race, gender, and sexuality.”

Why I refuse to identify as the ‘model minority’ 
“The problem now is that my community is expected to be silent about social justice, which makes it appear anti-black, anti-Hispanic and makes it harder to portray accurately in the media.”

Minorities can affirm their own authenticity
“Judging a minority’s “authenticity” seems silly, yet I have found it to be a habitual task for many.”

Minority students belong at Northwestern
“He didn’t know me, but he assumed that he knew my worth. This was the first instance of racism I experienced here at NU.”

Intentionality, engagement needed to avoid gentrification
“Gentrification seems to be an ultimate expression of privilege—that a group can enter a community and take it over, transform it and reap financial benefits from the relative poverty of other people.”

Sikhism needs a safe space, on campus and nationally
“I’m tired of never seeing my religion represented except when I ask for it to be. I’m tired of running through the bullet points of my religion, because it’s unfair to distill a beautiful faith based on revolutionary equality into digestible, ‘easy,’ facts.”

Immigration comes with trials, hardship and the longing for a home
“I could never begin to imagine the discomfort of leaving the world you know to try to make it in a world you’ve never encountered, and one in which you so often are not welcomed. Instead, I, along with many of America’s first generation youth, face a different struggle: the psychological rift that comes with my homeland not being the land of my mother and father.”

The unexpected benefits of my assimilation
“I’ve learned not to be so complacent in my comfort. Exploring new things and taking risks before the burdens of adulthood take priority is integral to the college experience. I’m happy I took that uncomfortable leap into the daunting, unfamiliar community that was Refresh.”

Drastically unprepared
“The problem with the ENU, however, was just that: It hit the L and the G and the B and the T. It did not educate its audience about them. In fact, it confused them.”

Black students shouldn’t have to represent their entire race
“There is an implicit expectation that students who identify with these concepts should be the ones who need to step up in class discussions and bare their wounds to the class, just to prove that the concepts and discussions happening are valid.”

An international student’s struggle for authentic school pride
“To some, including myself, the notion of school spirit is completely foreign. Perhaps this is because foreign is what some of us also are.”

Finding myself far from home
“I am by no means ashamed of my Chinese identity. Yet who I am seems to have changed when I’m in a different country.”

The ‘gayest’ thing you’ve ever done
“Throwing around gayness doesn’t just misrepresent you — it misrepresents the rest of us as well.”

It’s time to think outside the white racial box
“We have been fighting adamantly for years, and it’s time we realize any plan for racial progress that does not include the crucial role of whites is a bankrupt one.”

Behind the counter of a bubble tea shop
“I call out the number on the sticker and serve up another piece of my culture to someone who has paid for it with American bills. It’s easy, and it’s not easy.”

My reality of surviving sexual assault
“It has been a long road to get to where I am, and it has been bereft of a role model. If there is one thing I want to accomplish with this article, it is to show my fellow survivors what everyone tells you: it does get better.”

Taking ownership of my Korean-American name
“I do not think it’s necessary to give up my Korean-ness for the sake of the categorical continuity — and the conveniences that such continuity affords — that people have imposed on me time and time again.”

At Northwestern, financial instability largely undiscussed
“It’s not uncommon at Northwestern to be financially insecure. However it is rarely talked about and, when it is, it’s often with hushed tones discussing the stresses of paying tuition and buying books.”

Learning to empathize with all perspectives
“We don’t need to agree with or fully understand each other, but we can all contribute to a space of positivity and openness.”

Building confidence after overcoming an eating disorder
“What makes anorexia so powerful is its ability to latch on to your declining mental stability brought on by the starvation and, most ironically, continue it.”

The obstacles to self-love as a black woman
“If you compare yourself to your white peers, you, as a person of color, will never understand what you specifically have to offer.”

Looking for myself in the media
“One privilege that goes hand in hand with whiteness is being able to look at the world through the lens of the media and feeling like you are a part of it.”

Mexico much more than its American stereotypes
“It is time Americans wake up and realize Mexico is more than the bloody appendix of their imaginations.”

Reflecting on learning across difference
“It is a frustrating reflection of our community that it takes students who have already felt marginalized to mobilize, raise awareness and seek change.”

Balancing Greek Life and Islam
“My faith teaches me to uplift those around me and to serve my communities. Everything I do for my sisterhood, I do for my faith as well.”

Moving from shame to empowerment as a Chinese American
“The more I separate the Chinese part of my identity from the American part, the less power I have against injustices dealt against me.”

The silent voice of privilege
“Unlike the vast majority of people who have shared their opinions about inclusion, I have the rarely-seized opportunity to change the exclusionary hegemonic forces from the inside.”

Transitioning from majority to minority as an international student
“The least we can do is to keep in mind the diversity of human experience — how much we still don’t know and how much we need to keep learning from one another.”

On being Palestinian in a pro-Israel institution
“It appears that one of Mandela’s greatest teachings is excluded from this campus-wide reflection: standing in solidarity with oppressed peoples, no matter how unpopular their cause may be.”

Welcome to the Spectrum, a new part of The Daily’s opinion section