Our View | It’s not our story

Staff reflects on importance of education, opinions

Published by The Rocket, Date: February 16, 2024

Our View is a staff editorial produced collaboratively by the entire Rocket Staff. Any views expressed in the editorial are the opinions of the entire staff. 

To review our editorial policy, which includes our blotter policy, click here.

When The Rocket staff came together to discuss our staff editorial for the Black History Month edition, we sat for a long time and pondered what to write about.  

We wanted to dedicate our editorial to racially marginalized people but looked around the room and realized the majority of us could not accurately speak on these issues. While, yes, this is because most of us have not experienced being Black, many of us did not feel comfortable giving an voice on the prevalent issues affecting Black students on our campus and in our country. 

Staff editorials are a way for our staff to come together, collaborate, share ideas and have discussions about topics we think are important to share with you, our readers. We take pride in being well-educated before we deliver information to you. 

How are we, a majority-white staff, supposed to speak on issues none of us could even imagine? This is not our reality to speak on. This is not our story to tell. 

Education begins with you 

We want to stress the importance of educating yourself as an individual in society. It is no one’s responsibility but our own to seek truth. The truth often lies in hearing a perspective different than our own, outside our lived experiences. 

As we age, we begin to realize the ways that institutions around us have failed to inform us. We face an oversaturation of information that fills us with uncertainty, distrust and sometimes, dread. 

For Gen Z, this information may come from the most recent influencer to take over the algorithm. Whether it be idolizing a YouTuber, celebrity, late-night talk show host or maybe even a news anchor, there is no denying that many people will base their views on these opinion leaders. 

Educating yourself sometimes means uncomfortable conversations and realizations. Listen to the experiences of the people affected, whose story it is to tell. We tend to learn from our friends and peers, but it is not the responsibility of people of color to educate white people. 

Although overwhelming, it is crucial that we take hold of our responsibility and educate ourselves on the ignorance that many of us have unintentionally played a part in. 

We hold these values close to us, not only as members of a news organization but on a personal level. It is a practice of humility to refrain from speaking an opinion that you are not educated on. 

We cannot grow and develop if we are not willing to hear perspectives and experiences outside of our own. Once further educated, we can correct ignorance by harboring a safe, neutral and comfortable environment for people to learn with us.

SRU is a predominantly white university. To put the numbers into perspective, last academic year, 4.14% of SRU’s student population was reportedly Black, according to the Undergraduate Student Profile. The Rocket is not here for just the majority. We are here for everyone in the Slippery Rock communityon campus and off. 

As the only written news source in Slippery Rock, we have a responsibility to ensure that all members of our audience have a voice. Our purpose is not to speak over those voices but to amplify them.  

We strive to better educate ourselves and encourage others to do the same. 

We exist to tell stories, and during Black History Month, we have decided that these are not most of our stories to tell. During this month and always, we welcome opinion pieces and story ideas to amplify the voices of marginalized communities.  

We want to pass the microphone to Jamar Robinson, president of Black Action Society and public relations chair of Kings, to discuss his experiences as a Black student at a predominantly white institution. 

Remember to learn from experiences and perspectives outside of your own and, as always, allow room for every individual to speak. 


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