Censorship doesn’t always look like burned books—in fact, I would argue that it rarely does. Censorship is far more insidious and innocuous than a library on fire; at least in this country, it is most often silence.
Breyten Breytenbach, the South African poet who was imprisoned for his anti-apartheid activism, wrote that in United States he felt an internalized culture of censorship much more intense than that of South Africa. He writes about the chilling apathy of a population that has the ability, but not the desire, to be free.“I felt as if I was living amongst zombies,” he says. “People don’t know what life is about—they don’t see the colors. They’re not even aware of the moral implications of what it means to be walking on the street as a free person.” Censorship isn’t always fiery violence—it’s a dull ache, a low-grade fever, a refusal or inability to vocalize dissent.
Ethically exercising freedom means challenging the community to which you belong and combatting the seductive effects of apathy and cynicism. This vein pulses through this block’s magazine, the (Un)censored Issue.
Take Han Sayles’ invesigative report about the unexplained and extremely troubling termination of Roberto Garcia, the former Director of Admissions who worked faithfully at CC for 25 years (p. 14). Read the piece about the ways in which Accessibility Services fails students at CC (p. 36), or another about how racial minorities are excluded from hookup and dating culture on campus (p. 26). One writer explores the implications of re-appropriating derogatory language to combat racism (p. 44), while others candidly explore their own pasts, like Eboni Statham who writes about the impact of participating in a Purity Ball(p. 20) and Sam Tezak, who seeks to de-stigmatize the experience of men with body image issues (p. 29).
Consider these articles invitations. They ask us to take responsibility for the injustices committed in our community and to shoulder the burden collectively. The words that follow are honest, vulnerable and brave, challenging us to understand and recognize the pain of those with whom we share a campus—challenging us to move forward together.
-Sarah Ross and the Cipher editors