Where are the students of color in the Spotlight?

By Celeste Prince

As a senior, I’ve read just about every issue of The Mac Weekly since I came to Macalester, and though I understand that it is an independent newspaper and so cannot be taken as the ultimate representative for Mac, I do have a question concerning the Spotlight section. Where are the senior students of color? I’ve seen four and it’s almost November.

It’s taken me this long to write about this very sensitive issue because I’ve wondered whether my concern is valid. After all, The Mac Weekly is an independent student organization that doesn’t necessarily have any obligations except to report news that the student writers see fit to report. On top of that, it’s a volunteer organization-there’s no class credit given like in high school, so whoever joins is doing it because it’s what they want to do. So it can be summed up by saying that if certain students see a lack in whatever the paper offers, they should step up and do it themselves with the backing of The Mac Weekly.

Perhaps it’s naive of me to ask The Mac Weekly to be the representative of Macalester. At the same time, The Mac Weekly is the only MCSG funded newspaper on campus (and the most funded student organization, on top of that). That status alone makes it the voice and megaphone of Mac students, faculty, staff, and alumni, whether the Mac Weekly staff likes it or not.

So when I pick up a copy of this “voice of Macalester” on Friday mornings, flip through the pages and see few faces of color, I wonder if the “voice” actually wants to include students like me?

I’ve decided to break my silence and ask a few questions so that everyone can be on the same page.

How does the selection process work for choosing the showcased seniors? Are they nominated by peers or is it something a little less public? Or maybe they nominate themselves?

If that’s the case, I’d like to nominate myself-Celeste Prince, class of 2010, proud woman of color-to be next featured. If someone were to ask, I can guarantee I would have something witty and interesting to tell an interviewer.

I also want to nominate several other senior students of color (and allies) who have done extraordinary things on and off campus and have yet to receive any public recognition by their peers.

How about Elyse Dempsey for all the work she and her comrades from P.I.P.E. (Proud Indigenous People for Education) did to protest Columbus Day two weeks ago?

Or Daniel Soto for his participation in the Loft Literary Center’s Inroads program over the summer?

Or Linda Nguyen who helped organize the “Up In Arms” protest concert and wasn’t even mentioned in the tiny, pictureless article (Oct. 9)?

None of the previously mentioned students (or anyone at Macalester in general) do what they do for people to fawn over them and write sonnets in their name. I’m certainly not denying that everyone at Macalester does awesome, groundbreaking things.

Nevertheless, a little recognition never hurts. A little representation is even better.

One student of color every few weeks is not enough and not okay. When our bodies are rendered invisible, our voices silenced within the newsprint pages, it is overwhelmingly frustrating.

It’s unfair and insulting and unnecessary, and I would rather not continue to harbor these sour feelings through graduation. I hope that my words have been read as heartfelt and achingly real and that you, Mac Weekly staff, will try to represent the voices of your readers, your peers, Macalester students like myself.

Celeste Prince ’10 can be contacted at [email protected]