Another world is possible

Working towards a fairer world

Another world is possible

By Rebecca Duke Wiesenberg, Translations Editor

Ignorance is a nasty malady. It feeds the worst parts of the human condition. It rots the psyche.

But it’s treatable.

It’s treatable through fair, equitable and humanizing representation in popular media; equitable distribution of wealth; power built on collaboration, versus domination; information and knowledge that is easily accessible, and accessible in multiple mediums.

I joined the Massachusetts Daily Collegian in 2017. It is the independent newspaper for the University of Massachusetts; it sets the standard for how other student media organizations on campus operate. One standard was that campus media is only expected to provide news and information in one language.

I didn’t agree with that standard of representation. So, I challenged it.

By founding the Translations Department, I challenged the notion that monolingualism is the norm, the notion that English is more valuable than another, the notion that someone’s voice only matters if it sounds a certain way. I also challenged ideas surrounding representation, not only who is represented, but also where, why and how often. Not to mention, who gets to decide what is appropriate representation.

By its first month, the department was translating articles into five languages. Even though we were growing at an exponential rate, I didn’t understand how long it takes to achieve structural change. Nor did I understand how unwelcomed change can be at first — especially by those who were doing fine beforehand.

I definitely didn’t understand that I was breaking the Collegian’s long-established hierarchy.

Although it was a very rude, very painful awakening, it was integral to my personal development. I had to really evaluate what I am willing to sacrifice in order to fit into an organization and achieve my mission (not my values, that’s for sure). I had to hold myself accountable for the way I treat others, and for any ignorance I hold in my heart. I had to learn that self-forgiveness is more productive than self-punishment. I had to come to terms with the fact that change isn’t static, and with every problem that’s solved, another arises.

But I also learned that another world is possible.

Rebecca Duke Wiesenberg was the Translations Editor of the Collegian. She can be reached at [email protected]gmail.com, and on twitter @busybusybeckybe.