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Lewis Raven Wallace: How to Speak Up and Speak Out

It’s University Press Week! Today’s blog tour theme is ‘Speaking Up & Speaking Out’. Who better to reflect on the subject than activist and journalist Lewis Wallace, who was fired from his job in public radio for refusing to stay silent about the harmful and marginalizing myth of ‘objectivity’ perpetuated in the media world?

Read on for his thoughts about today’s theme, and scroll for event info and a teaser trailer of Wallace’s new podcast, companion to his debut book, The View from Somewehere.

“I was raised to believe that speaking out mattered, that we all had some responsibility to justice and fairness in the world. I remember lodging protests that only a child of privilege would: against the overly authoritarian school lunch supervisor; against a teacher who I believed insulted the sixth grade students’ intelligence. I circulated petitions and self-published newspapers about youth liberation and adult domination. But speaking out comes with consequences that are uneven and unfair, based on your position of power in the world. In my case, speaking out was easy until I came of age and came out as queer, and transgender in the late 1990s. Using my voice then became a necessity, rather than a choice, although I was still often insulated from the consequences faced by Black and brown teenagers who went against the grain. Where I had school counselors called in on me, my Black and brown peers had cops called. Where I was expelled and sent to alternative school, my peers were expelled and sent to the streets, or juvie, or prison.

In some ways, it was easy to speak about my own oppression, because I understood it. But over time, I also came to believe that it mattered just as much to use my voice to speak about my position(s) of power and privilege, which I would never shed as an educated white person, an inheritor of many unearned platforms and megaphones. When I was fired in 2017 from a prominent position in public radio, I never doubted my choice to use my voice to stand up against the rise of a leader inspired by white supremacy and fueled by transphobia. The negative consequences for me of using my voice were worth the risks. It was an act of solidarity—it drew attention to me, but was ultimately about all the people who weren’t me, who never had the platform to protest in the way that I did, who had been speaking out into a void, or who’d been pressured into silence.

And I ended up writing a whole book about the history of other journalists from marginalized communities who have stood up for themselves, and for the principles of justice, fairness, and truth that made them journalists and storytellers in the first place. The View from Somewhere is a history of “objectivity,” but also an interrogation of what it means to use your voice in a fractured, dangerous world.”

Lewis Raven Wallace’s exciting debut book, The View from Somewhere: Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity, is now available online and in stores. You can check out the short trailer for his companion podcast below.

Here’s a brief intro to Lewis’s podcast and forthcoming book:
“Trust in journalists is at an all-time low, but the work of journalism matters more than ever. And traditional “objectivity” may be hurting, rather than helping. All journalists have a view from somewhere, and ”objective” journalism often upholds status quo thinking and reinforces racism, sexism, and transphobia. Host Lewis Raven Wallace was fired from the public radio show Marketplace in 2017 for saying just that. In the years since, Lewis has dug into the history of “objectivity,” who it serves, and who it excludes. The View from Somewhere tells the stories of journalists who have resisted “objectivity” and stood up for justice, and envisions new approaches to truth and integrity in journalism.”


North Carolina:
Nov 7, 6:30-8pm: Launch party at Pinhook Bar. In conversation with Ramona Martinez, producer of the View from Somewhere podcast:

Nov 12, 6:30-8pm: City Lit Books—in conversation with Charles Preston and Bettina Chang
Nov 13, 9am-1pm: “Transforming Journalism Beyond Diversity” workshop with Press On and City Bureau at DePaul University downtown campus, co-facilitated with Mia Henry (registration required)
Nov 13, 6pm-8pm: Public Newsroom with podcast producer Ramona Martinez, hosted by City Bureau at DePaul University downtown (14 E Jackson in the LL Auditorium)
Nov 14, 7pm: Women & Children First—with Chicago Reader publisher and former Windy City Times editor Tracy Baim

New York City:
Nov 19, noon: Book talk at the 92 St Y “Fake News: Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity” 
Nov 19, evening: Barnard public event with Meredith Talusan
Nov 20, 7pm: McNally Jackson (Williamsburg location)—in conversation with Onnesha Roychoudhuri 
Nov 21, 7-8pm: The Strand, Rare Book Room—in conversation with author Samantha Allen

Dec 5: CalArts talk (TBA) 
Dec 7, 4:30pm: Bel Canto Books at The Hangout (Long Beach)—in conversation with Sam Greenspan
Dec 10, 7-8:30pm: E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore (Oakland)

Ann Arbor, MI
Jan 7, 7pm: Literati Bookstore