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You read that right. The Havard Crimson is officially a space for Black people.
Why? Because I said so.
Since when? Now.
Who gave me this kind of authority? Me. I’m Black. I’m on The Harvard Crimson Editorial Board. And, as already mentioned, I said so.
No, I am not advocating for booting every non-Black writer out the building onto Plympton Street. But I am certainly advocating for every Black Harvard undergraduate, who feels even slightly inclined, to come and bust down the (digital) doors to the comp and make this institution yours.
This organization certainly does not have the most pro-Black history. No, this newspaper, like any century-and-a-half-old, predominantly white-run publication, has been actively anti-Black at times. As a result, I could probably name most of the current Black members regardless of which board in the organization they are a part of — not because I am a particularly social dude, but because according to an internal Crimson survey, there are only about 15 of us out of the nearly 200 current student editors and writers who responded.
Naturally in that kind of environment, there have been the — hopefully occasional — moments where we’ve felt like the only Black person in the room. As if we, personally, were responsible for all things Black, racism, diversity and inclusion, and social justice. And that is tough. Or maybe we have felt outright offended, attacked, or unsafe without a support structure — or with one that just won’t get it. And that is even tougher.
So with all of this in mind, why would I call upon every Black student who has considered journalism to join this organization? That’s a question with many answers: Yes, it’s because I believe that collectively we can shape The Crimson to be anti-racist. Yes, it’s because I know about the hard work some members — many Black — have put in to make this space more inclusive and welcoming. Yes, it’s because I love writing for this newspaper and the people in it, imperfections and all. Yes, it’s because I believe that journalism and written work in general is an influential force that shapes our social world.
And yes — perhaps selfishly — it’s because I am tired of being the “only” Black person in the room and I want a (permanent) break from it. I am tired of feeling the burden of being a representative of all things Black both in the Editorial Board’s meetings and in my writing. This task of representation is impossible for any one Black person, but slightly less impossible for a group of us.
I realize that many of my fellow Black peers have decided against joining The Crimson for reasons of their own. But I must urge them — you — all to give it another consideration. Incoming first-year students, there must be so much more uncertainty for you than any first-years in living memory. In and among all that uncertainty, know that The Crimson is a space in which you can find security.
If you are Black and have ever looked at journalism of any type — news, opinion, arts, photography, sports, etc. — and thought “maybe I’d like that.” If you are Black and like the idea of investigating. If you are Black and like to capture the world in a creative way. If you are Black and have opinions or thoughts to share with the world. If you are Black and like writing in general. Even if you are Black and you have read something on this website (perchance something of my own) that has irked you. Then you are a person who should complete the comp to one (or many) of our boards and join The Crimson.
The Crimson needs you. You will love it, learn from it, and valuably contribute to the Harvard community and beyond. And while I can’t speak for the rest of the staff in certain terms, at least this one Black Crimson editor will love you for it too.
Marcus B. Montague-Mfuni ’23, a Crimson Editorial editor, lives in Dunster House.
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