Editor's Response To 'Just Because I'm Some Orono Girl'
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Editor's Response To 'Just Because I'm Some Orono Girl'

I now notice that I must not be discouraged for what I love to do, and that is this: to write.

Editor's Response To 'Just Because I'm Some Orono Girl'
Brianna Shaw

On October 25th, my Odyssey article called "Just because I'm some Orono girl..." was published and posted onto my Facebook page.

I quickly wrote it out of frustration because I heard through one of my roommates that a friend of mine abolished our chances of continuing our friendship because she knew of where I went to high school. Therefore, she drew to conclusions that I was wealthier than her because we came from different backgrounds. Not only was that a factor in our failed friendship, but she didn't know how to "deal with me" because I was going through a lot of hard personal issues that lead to a form of depression my Spring semester. But the idea that because I went to a wealthy high school and because I was suffering emotionally as an excuse to refuse to get to know me was what set me off the charts.

So I wrote about it, and never in my life had I gotten so much positive feedback for one opinion article.

...But there was never a time where I felt so victimized either.

In the middle of the article I said, "I guess you could say I lived in the 'ghetto' for Orono goers."

It was simply a term that I referred to in essence of the fact that I didn't live in the richest of neighborhoods for the community I was going to school in, and it was segregated from the more wealthier neighborhoods in the community that my fellow peers lived at. I also heard someone else say that phrase in regards to where they lived in another city nearby, so it stuck with me and I threw it in the article last minute whilst editing not thinking otherwise.

But because of that choice, that one word, peers from my past decided to challenge me about it. A few comments, text messages, even snapchats lurked on my phone throughout the day lightly regarding my insensitivity in the usage of the word "ghetto." People noted that it appeared to be "racist and classist" when my implication of which was neither of the two.

Although this isn't the first time I've gotten hate or criticism for what I wrote (whether it be a grammatical or spelling error of such), this one has left a mark since I've been implied to be a

racist and a classist.

Never in my life had I been called those two words concerning the word "ghetto." Especially racist. In fact, the college I go to (Bethel University) recently had a racial issue regarding the "Black Lives Matter" movement that shook our entire campus. (A few individuals decided to paint over "Black lives Matter" on our campus rock with the words "BLM= racist and a double standard). When I listened to our pastor speak of how hurt she was by the situation, I couldn't help but engulf myself in tears when no one was looking. My heart completely broke for the black people on campus. With that being said, I used my God given talent to voice my opinion on the matter by writing.

I wrote an Odyssey article called "A letter to the three individuals who painted the rock" about it a few weeks back, and I helped report a story for Bethel's Clarion special issue on the matter. (May I note that it didn't make it into the paper for my view came off as too bias because I was on the side of the black people on campus and didn't report on the people against BLM).

In regards to the classist claim, I can see how the word "ghetto" could be discriminatory on the basis of social class while comparing it to my current living situation. No, I do not live in the "ghetto," nor do I know of what it's like to live in the "ghetto." But like I had mentioned previously, I had no intention of it being classist. It was simply a word I put in quotes to emphasize the looseness of my metaphor.

Anyways, my closest friends knew this accusation about my character as racist and classist left a sting in my mood for the rest of the day, but they didn't truly know how bothered I was by it for I had it set in my mind that this is what people will know me for. For one simple word I wrote that my fellow peers from high school skewed out of proportion, and, to their misfortune, missed the entirety of my point. Peers that did not know me well in high school, but were intelligent enough to know that I would never use such derogatory remarks for one word.

Though it brought me little comfort when people came to my defend claiming that I used the word correctly and that I shouldn't worry about what oversensitive people had to say, I still couldn't sleep the rest of that night because I had upset people. I hate hurting people's feelings when I don't mean to. I can't emphasize how much I hate it. With that, I feel deeply sorry for those who took my wording the wrong way. Not once did I intend the use of that word to be hurtful. All in all, I just want to be forgiven and accepted.

But nonetheless, I cried about it. I couldn't even eat. All because I was so frazzled by the idea that so many smart human beings would go out of their way to back a claim that I was being "racist or classist." To make such a statement without thinking twice of how it could affect such a person like myself, and to continue to think that they believe that I'm racist and classist makes me want to throw up from writing it in one sentence.

I asked God over and over that night why so many people were hurtful to me when they knew my intention was good (at least I hoped). But I found rest and peace in my favorite bible verse Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

And then I realized this: God was telling me to be strong and to not be discouraged for this one incident because He will be with me. He will make it okay.

With that in mind, later that night I received a text messaged from my dad. He said, "No matter what, you can only please most of the people most of the time. Not all the people are going to be 100% with you on every word. (You) Need to grow some thick skin so comments & criticism don't bother you so much."

I know now that through this predicament I am in, I must be strong. Or like my father put it quite plainly, I need to grow some thick skin.

Though people may be surprised by this, I appreciate the criticism. It's made me think more in depth of what I write and how I write it, yet it's also helped me find peace in the fact that I'm not perfect and I will make mistakes that could upset others though it not be my intention.

Taken into context, I will be a professional reporter some day since Journalism is my passion. All this "hubbub" of people using their beautiful God gifted intelligence to debate what I write, even if it's one word I know I treaded too lightly on and still feel deeply sorry for, is just what comes with the job. Therefore, I now notice that I mustn't be discouraged for what I love to do, and that is this: to write.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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