Hey, Midd! As a quick introduction, my name is Daleelah. I’m a junior Posse Scholar from New York. I exist at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities: I’m Muslim, Arab-American, from a low-income background, neurodivergent and a woman of color. These various facets of my identity have not only shaped who I am, but shape the way I exist within the spaces and communities I inhabit at Midd.
As the Senior Editor of the Opinions section, I’m excited to extend the platform of The Campus as a physical and digital space for other historically marginalized members of the Middlebury community to share their experiences. One way I’m hoping to do this is through the creation of a new column, “(Re)write.” This title refers to the idea that dominant narratives portrayed in media— including newspapers —are shaped by people in power/with privilege. At Midd, that might look like white people, those with higher income brackets, those in positions of authority, etc. (It’s worth noting here that having privilege in some capacity can exist simultaneously with being marginalized in other capacities.) And it’s been that way for so long that it’s become normative, to the point where you might not even think to consider what voices are missing.
I envision this column as an opportunity for historically marginalized people to (re)write their stories, both by countering dominant narratives and creating entirely new ones.
As a first year especially, I struggled with imposter syndrome because of my various identities. I felt like I had to prove myself — prove that I deserved to be at an elite institution like Midd by being a “good student,” prove that I deserved to be a Posse scholar by being a “good leader,” prove that I fit into various social circles or student orgs by being a “good friend and team player.” Something I learned in my Ed Studies class recently, however, is that “goodness,” like most other things we’re taught to strive for, is inherently linked to whiteness (and other privileged markers of identity).
So consider this your PSA that you don’t have to be a “good writer” or have a “good idea” in order to publish something here. Your voice and experiences are worthy of being amplified and uplifted simply because they are yours. I totally understand that writing for The Campus might feel inaccessible for a variety of reasons, maybe because it seems like a big time commitment or you’re worried that you need certain qualifications. You may also not know who to reach out to about it, or you may have an idea but are worried about formulating it into an article. Maybe you don’t even know what an “op-ed” is. And that’s okay! I’m here to assure you that the commitment is flexible, no qualifications are needed, and our team is here to help you with all aspects of the writing process. (And PSA: an op-ed is an article, often written in the first person, that conveys an opinion or has a central argument.)
I began to write articles for The Campus because I noticed a representation gap in terms of whose experiences were being highlighted and which kinds of people were sending in op-eds. Not every article I’ve written has revolved around my identity and the struggles I’ve faced — and I don’t want you to feel like your op-eds have to revolve around that, either. Everything I’ve written, however, has been through the unique lens that only I can offer because of the combination of my identities and life experiences.
Simply put, your voice matters. So this is your invitation to grab the (metaphorical) mic and write something. Write about a topic you’re passionate about, an issue you’d like to bring attention to, actions you’d like the administration or fellow members of the community to consider, lessons you wish you learned sooner or wisdom you’d like to pass on, something or someone you love and why, experiences you’ve had (both positive and negative) . . . the list goes on! As long as you have a general point you’re making, the options are pretty much limitless. If you don’t have a good thesis or feel overwhelmed about where to start, reach out anyways. There are multiple Opinion Editors and a super awesome executive team who can help you flesh out your ideas and create a polished piece that you’re proud of.
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if this sounds like something you’re interested in. This column is open to all historically marginalized members of the Middlebury community — students, faculty, staff, and anyone in between. I can’t wait to hear from you.
Daleelah Saleh ’23 is an Opinions Editor.
She intends to pursue an International Global Studies major with a Global Gender Studies track.
Her coverage at The Campus has included contributions to arts and opinion. In addition to working at The Campus, she is a peer writing tutor at the CTLR and has been involved with WRMC, Verbal Onslaught, and Oratory Now.