When Your Words Are Weapons
Ijeoma Oluo
241

On the Privileges of Platforms

I think I agree entirely with the message although if it’s not “when we write we need to respect how what we say can be used and consider our culpability for/contribution to those uses, even if we find them distasteful” (at least in essence) then attempting to read your piece whilst watching television didn’t work for me. However, I am a little confused by:

And as a writer, I call extra bullshit. Words matter. If they didn’t matter, we wouldn’t be in this profession. Our platform is an immense privilege that far too few people (especially marginalised people) have access to.

I can understand that some communities might find it difficult to go to a public library, for instance, and depending on how nosy I suspect people are I suspect I would feel self-conscious about spending time responding to certain things… but these are small groups of people. Public internet is freely available in many locations, especially if one has one’s own device (and therefore can find more private spaces to write, and the majority of people in developed societies do have private internet access. I suppose you could have been taking a more global perspective… but within developed societies there aren’t so many people who would be both too, for want of a better word, poor for private internet and otherwise unable to access the internet. With internet one can write publicly like never before, but I suppose you could have been taking an “even one is too many” approach (which is perfectly fair).

However, being able to write and actually having a voice are two different things. It doesn’t seem fair to class yourself in the same category as me, for instance. After all, your posts have a bigger (possibly even just existent) audience. Could this (as opposed to the vision-zero or globalist or both) be the explanation for seeing so many people as lacking a platform/audience? Or one of the previous ideas? Something else?

p.s.

And we are told time and time again that a journalist only has a responsibility to the truth — what is done with that “truth” is not their problem.

The journalist does only have responsibility to truth. It’s just that it is a poor truth that is does not respect its subjects nor its implications. I would go as far to say it is not truth at all.