Editorials Comment

Editor's Note: Getting to work

Nouse Editor, Jonathan Wellington, talks through the fifth edition of 'The Weekly Nouse'

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Image Credit: Jonathan Wellington

This week sees 'The Weekly Nouse' taking up slightly more of your screen with 12 articles being brought to you from our amazing team of editors and contributors.

As always, I make my appearance with the Life in Lockdown interview series, which (despite having its, admittedly simple, phrasing stolen by YUSU for a project with almost the exact same aim - I mean come on guys) continues with me talking to some of the amazing team at MEG, York’s Musical Education Group. Alongside this, we see the continuation of our series with new writer Blyth McPherson taking on the challenge of the ‘You are what you read’ series and Amelia Davidson contributing to the MUSE Film Club series.

We’ve also got some great stand-alone pieces with Eleanor Longman-Rood talking about the US’s decision to cut their funding to the WHO and a stronger News section than we’ve seen so far in The Weekly Nouse. MUSE has numerous excellent pieces with Alex making Gaming’s surprisingly late debut in 'The Weekly Nouse' and Food and Drink giving us some recommendations for our lockdown picnics, even if the sun now has seemingly gone away.

The pieces I want to focus on in my editor’s note this week, however, are the two incredible pieces from Izzy Hall and Patrick Hook-Willers which sit at the top of 'The Weekly Nouse' this edition. Both pieces articulate their authors' views on the current, incredibly prevalent, discussions about racism both here and in the US, and in doing so begin to express Nouse’s stance better than I ever could in this Editor’s note.

I do believe, and have done throughout my time as an editor for Nouse, that articles are always best when they’re written by people who are directly involved in the topic or who the issue directly affects. If we’ve got a comment piece about factionalism within the labour party then ideally I want a labour party member, someone who’s involved in the issue, to write about it. The same goes for articles regarding LGBTQ+ issues. A piece is always more impactful when personal experience can be called upon; no one wants to see a mansplaining of feminism or a straight-splaining of pride, just like no one wants to see a white person potentially whitesplain issues that black people face. This is why Nouse will always be a platform for anyone at the University of York to utilise, regardless of their background, ethnicity, sexual preference, religion, or any visible or invisible disabilities they may have. Your voice can be amplified through Nouse and I urge you now more than ever to get involved and get your voice heard through us.

However, I think one of the big takeaways from the current discourse is and will continue to be the encouragement of white people to more openly talk, recognise and educate themselves and each other on the issues black people are facing around the globe. Both of these writers are talking about these topics in a sensitive and crucial way and, importantly, in a way which recognises their privilege, their involvement in this issue, and tackles this head on. Izzy’s piece “White people: get to work” says it as plainly as possible: We must work to deconstruct and destroy this prejudice so ingrained in our society and a crucial element of that has to be white people writing articles like this.

The wider notion of white people “getting to work”, as Izzy puts it, is naturally and inevitably much easier said than it is done. The difficulty to do this should not, however, discourage us and we all have an individual responsibility to channel and maintain the current momentum which has been built through protests and the spreading of awareness. Nouse will be a platform for this legacy and will continue to be a platform for important and enduring student opinions. We cannot let all the words being spoken at the moment become empty. We cannot let our words and social media posts become purely performative. Black Lives Matter might be “trending” right now, but we cannot treat it as a trend. Its impact on the world and its impact on the individuals which make up the institution of Nouse cannot be forgotten.

A few weeks/months/years ago (I lose track) when lockdown started, a load of cheesy video montages shared by mums on Facebook told us that we’d remember this time as the period where the world stood still. The claims annoyed me greatly and annoyed me a lot more than they probably should’ve. However, what these protests and heightened awareness have meant is that this period could be remembered as a time where we stood up: where all of us stood up. Stood up to the abhorrent abuse of power we are seeing by some police in riot gear, stood up to a curriculum which perpetuates ignorance, and stood up to the institutionalised racism which is undeniably all around us. Nouse will continue to share resources on this matter but for now please see an introductory list at the bottom of Izzy's article HERE.

I hope Nouse continues to be a platform for people to acknowledge and challenge the systems behind their own privilege when it comes to important conversations such as this but that it also remains a platform for those most directly affected to feel comfortable in sharing their views.

If you have any thoughts on the above or views you wish to express regarding the above through Nouse then please don’t hesitate to contact me at editor@nouse.co.uk. Together we can all, as Izzy so eloquently puts it, "get to work".

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