Trustworthy vs. Authoritative

I went searching for an article that was trustworthy but not authoritative and found one on the New York Times. The author, Michael Schill, is the president of the University of Oregon, which suggests that he is someone I should believe, but this article does not do a good job of convincing me of anything at all. I was ready to listen to what Schill had to say until he said “I have nothing against protest … But the tactic of silencing, which has been deployed repeatedly at universities around the country, only hurts these activists’ cause.” I’ve been reading articles by authors with similar stances fairly often recently, and it seems like they’re all just reiterating a weak argument. Schill also cannot accurately put himself in the shoes of the students at this school. He does not understand what it feels like to be silenced constantly like many minority students are, and he doesn’t feel the stresses of tuition hikes like students do.

This article from Teen Vogue is a good example of an instance where I respect the authority of the author despite the lack of “trustworthiness.” Teen Vogue is not considered a scholarly magazine, but the publication is actually one of the best around for young people. This article allows for the voice of 21 year old Tauheedah Shakur of Los Angeles, whose father was sent to prison for over a decade when she was 7 years old. There is a vicious cycle involving children with incarcerated parents and likelihood of the child getting involved in crime themselves or generally not being successful that I won’t delve into, but this cycle is the reason that these voices aren’t necessarily considered trustworthy. Shakur has had to deal with a lot more than many other college students, and yet it is more likely that people will read and trust an article by a classmate of hers whose father has helped them get impressive jobs rather than her own writing.

Anna Fedder

Current sophomore at UM minoring in writing with an undecided major.

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