(The little i and capital We/Our are intentional political misspellings).
In last week’s feature article titled “Four Kinds of First-year students you don’t want to be next term,” one of the sub-sections prompted me to go on a stealing rampage. i took all the Campus newspapers from five newsstands and replaced them with notes asking the paper to “PLEASE stop publishing racist articles.”
i made this direct action because the cartoon and article subtitled “Involvement-Addict Allen” was racially insensitive and targeted an individual member of ABC.
The cartoon shows a black man with a skin-tight ABC T-shirt on. This carton is clearly targeting this year’s ABC president Clay Grego given that he is one of the few black males in the club (and only black male on the board) and almost always fashions skin tight T-shirts.
i am sure that the Campus didn’t intend to target Clay, but by not asking questions such as “does this negative cartoon image resemble a specific individual on campus?” they subconsciously singled him out.
Another part of the sub-section that infuriated me was that the article indirectly discouraged both black and white students from joining ABC.
Involvement-Addict Allen dissuades black students from joining ABC by blatantly linking involvement in the club with being over loaded with responsibilities.
The final line of the subsection even implies that ABC could contribute to black students having a mental meltdown. Again, this is sadly hinting on racist stereotypes that black people are inclined to go crazy.
The cartoon of Clay reinforced the stigma to white students that ABC is exclusively for Black people. In reality, ABC is an open organization dedicated to celebrating the African diaspora and combats the personal and institutionalized racism that pervades this campus.
i do not believe that either the writer, designer, or editors of the article intended for the piece to hurt and offend. But i also do not believe that ignorance is an excuse.
If We want to rid the world of racism, We (as white people) must hold Ourselves and other white people accountable.
It shouldn’t have to be black student’s job to tell Us every time We screw up and do something racially insensitive. i still love everyone involved in the Campus paper for the work that they do, We just need to ask a few more questions next time. Thank you for the space.
Lee Swaydis, ’14