Letter from the Intersections Editor: Haters keep us famous

Shahamat Uddin, Intersections Editor

“Shoutout to my haters, sorry you couldn’t phase me” – Nicki Minaj

Among the things I planned on doing in college, writing for The Hullabaloo was not one of them. Writing for The Hullabaloo and amassing a cult following of haters was certainly not one of them. 

I stumbled into college journalism by accident. During my freshman year, I was weirdly surrounded by many students who were passionately involved in the student newspaper. Just out of courtesy, I entertained their gossip and talk about what was going on in The Hullabaloo. I thought I could care less about what was being written. Instead, I wanted to be involved in activism, much of what was the subject of their writing.

Czars Trinidad | Layout Editor

Yet, in my second semester at Tulane, I found myself huddled over the long wooden table in The Hullabaloo basement office, bearing witness to the newspaper’s dedication to the voices of marginalized people and the birth of Intersections. I was in awe of then Intersections editor, Canela Lopez’s leadership and understood that this could be a vehicle for change in our university. 

“F*** I look like, h*e? I look like ‘yes’ and you like ‘no’” – Nicki Minaj

As I dispersedly wrote articles up until my senior year, I was surprisingly met with unusual engagement. And by unusual, I mean hate. Readers physically mailed essays to the Hullabaloo office on how much they despised me. Beyond just the comments section, my inbox on every social media was filled with personalized attacks and random critiques.

I really could not believe that people cared that much.

When I stepped into the role of Intersections editor my senior year, I knew that I wanted to make this section mean something. We had a track record of shining light on dark places and I wanted to accelerate that. I tried to write pieces that would represent my values, stir the pot, and push people to interrogate the ‘normal’ around them. But as the hate kept coming and kept coming and really did not stop coming, I got so tired.

“Do a show for Versace, they request me by name and if they don’t get Nicki, it just won’t be the same” – do I even need to say who it is

And it wasn’t just me. I sat with countless writers this semester, listening as they shared their cyberbullying experiences. More writers wanted to write something, but feared the online retaliation. Writing something for your college newspaper and having it posted online to all your peers is incredibly different from writing that same idea for one of your classes. It is vulnerability to be public about the hardships you have faced. That is what I admire most about each of the writers in our section.

It was jarring to me that the more vulnerable I became in my writing, the attacks that I would receive would dramatically increase. I thought I hit a breaking point in late January when my article on business professionalism launched a seemingly never ending series of hate. I had entire Reddit threads dedicated to my demise. Alt-right media sites assigned a writer to monitor every thing that I posted. I couldn’t even look at any social media without being reminded about how much people disagreed with me. 

I really could not believe that people cared that much. I realized that if my articles were truly making this many people mad then maybe the subjects I was writing about were really pushing people to think about the world around them. Maybe this was the activism I had dreamed of way back when freshman year. 

And it was easy to tell myself this time and time again, but it was still incredibly hard to read these comments over and over again. I do truly believe that there is a compassionate human behind every one of the comments thrown at Intersections this year. I also believe that there are some deep insecurities these people have about social justice issues and frankly, it’s not my job to solve it for them. 

There are so many people to thank for the incredible year that Intersections has had. I promise myself to extend my gratitude to all those people that I can. However, there is one person who has taught me to deal with haters better than anyone else ever could.

“And I’m all up, all up, all up in the bank with the funny face and if I’m fake, I ain’t notice ’cause my money ain’t” – Nicki Minaj

Nicki’s principles have really guided my college experience. She pushed me out of the closet, cured my writing block, and probably had some inspiration in any thing that I have ever written.

Intersections has had an amazing year. We were consistently the top section with the highest amount of views and highest amount of articles trending. We rocked two amazing front-page stories. Our Black History Month edition of The Hullabaloo brought real conversations to our administration. We beat all the haters who were waiting for our downfall.

Each of our writers — Cliff, Jewell, Ren, Maiya, Meredith, Wash, Harmonii, Emilie, Josh, Ori, Juju, Hugo, Shay, Kennon, Sanjali, Apoorva, Frederick, and Kia — you all continually impressed me with your writing and dedication to justice.

Meg, you were the best co-editor I could have asked for. Thank you for embodying everything Nicki stands for. I know Apoorva and Ori will continue this work and make us proud.

Thank you to everyone who has kept up with our articles, especially the people who disagree with us. If anyone ever feels the need to reach out to me, well just ask the people who write the hate comments, they sure know how to get into every social media inbox I have.

All love,

(Former) Intersections Editor, Shahamat Uddin

This one is for the Barbz!