Column: ‘Progressive’ letter actually harmful

Corryn Brock

After seeing posts online and printed letters urging students to boycott the student-run yearbook, the Warbler, I thought it was a funny and ridiculous idea. The more I read, I was disgusted by the accusations and harmful ideas being put out in the content.

The outrage was at a single spread of the book, specifically one quote and photo.

The photo was of a tattooed student and the quote of his read:

“My mom passed away when I was young and I’ve always been into Hispanic culture and sugar skulls. I have four skulls in total and most of them represent my mom. Her loss hurt my family a lot and I wanted that part of my life represented on my body. I have a huge emotional attachment to all of my tattoos. Especially my skulls.”

The letter encouraging the boycott of the already free yearbook was written by a student on what I assume was the so-called “tattooed community’s” behalf and took issue with the only student featured being “white and male” and the stigma of tattooed individuals being mentally unwell the yearbook allegedly promoted.

As a queer, tattooed woman, the letter pissed me off.

To break it down:

· Boycotting a free yearbook does nothing. They aren’t losing money and all you are doing is ignoring the hard work of your peers creating an entire book. This isn’t your high school yearbook that’s really a picture book, it’s something these students worked on as professionals for you.

· The tattooed community is not a thing. You may bond with others over having tattoos but it is not a community and definitely not a marginalized community as it was made out to be. You don’t see croc or piercings communities because it’s just a style choice as are tattoos.

· Claiming that person’s quote was implying they have mental illness is disgusting. People can memorialize or represent parts of their life in tattoos without it having a deeper meaning. They are allowed to do with their body as they choose without anyone placing meaning on it.

· Assuming the individual’s gender and ethnicity is completely hypocritical to the letter is against stereotyping and assuming things of people. It also shows the author’s lack of effort to look through a book that showed Eastern’s diversity well. It was one page, one person, one quote. Not everything is going to be diverse, especially when featuring one person.

Everyone has their own experiences in life that lead them down the paths that they go and the person who wrote the letter does not have the right to place their beliefs on someone else in such a negative way, nor does anyone else.

Before speaking on behalf of an entire “community,” maybe consider that your opinion is not wanted or beneficial. I didn’t ask for it and I imagine a lot of other people didn’t either.

 

Corryn Brock is a junior journalism student and can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]