Let’s Talk Race: Journalism

Journalism is essential to ensuring that experiences such as those described by BlackNCAC, an Instagram account dedicated to raising awareness of systemic racism within the institutions of the North Coast Athletic Conference, are recognized and those involved are held accountable for their actions. As a staff member of the Campus, it is my responsibility to uphold the values of our organization — values of equality, integrity and inclusivity within our representation of the student body.

As a white individual, discussing racism tends to be viewed as a taboo. Oftentimes, it is a topic that many white people shy away from out of discomfort or fear of offending someone. There will always be a barrier to communication and genuine resolution so long as people allow their discomfort to guide their actions and dictate their mentality towards racism.

I know that I will never fully understand the experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and that, at times these discussions will make me uncomfortable, but I accept that. I cannot allow momentary discomfort to prevent me from ensuring that my fellow peers feel welcomed and represented on this campus. Race is an attribute that someone cannot change about themselves and should not have to to feel a part of this community. I neither intend to offend nor do I assert that I will be able to understand how racism feels. Regardless, it has become more apparent that these discussions need to be amplified until we can have these conversations without aversion.

I still believe that Allegheny can be a place for everyone, even if it fails to uphold that notion at times. The massive response from the campus community to the horrid accounts of racial prejudice and discrimination against BIPOC on our campus is a testament to this belief. One of the most admirable aspects of this community is how apparent it is that we care for one another. That care does not exclude the times when members of the community fail to uphold this standard, which is where accountability comes into play.

Everyone at Allegheny is unquestionably unique; we all have attributes about ourselves that make us an asset to this community. One commonality that everyone at Allegheny has is the ability to hold others accountable for their actions. This accountability is not always prevalent, and that shortcoming became very apparent over the summer, but accountability still exists within every member of the community. Each student signed the Statement of Community when they arrived on campus during their first year. While investigating and providing retribution to individuals who have faced racism is the formal prerogative of the college, it is also the prerogative of the community in which we live to hold one another to that oath.

Ignorance towards another’s suffering will enable these events to occur. The longer you choose to ignore what is going on, the longer it will continue. I understand the “it is not your problem, so it is not your business” mentality, but that at its very core of the ignorance that I am referencing.

It may not appear to be your personal problem, but as a member of the student body, it is your responsibility to uphold the Statement of Community, which includes ensuring that others do so as well. When one individual engages in racist activities or remarks, it is a reflection of the people who make up the community.

As I write this opinion piece, I know that I do not have a solution in mind that is the “end all be all” to ensuring racial equality on campus. However, I know the importance of student representation in journalism and the value of diversity within articles. I can attest to my dedication to representing our student body, and I will continue to write my articles with integrity and quality regardless of the subject matter.

As a reporter, I can and will continue to share the stories and perspectives of our student body to the best of my ability. Race has not and will continue to not be a factor in my selection of students or faculty for my articles or a barrier to my representation of the student body.

I see you, I hear you and I will continue to ensure that you are heard on this campus.