White Supremacy at a Student Newspaper
Posted by Carlo Montemayor on May 30, 2007
Jack Stephens and Christine Joy Ferrer, both reporters for [X]Press news services at San Francisco State University, blog about a recent opinion piece by the future editor for the [X]Press newspaper.
Christine wrote about the actual situation:
Damn, I have never felt so awkward, disheartened, angry, and yet so very proud before in my life. A few days ago while I was sitting in the journalism lab at SF State, talking to the new [X]press newspaper editors for next semester, Ian Thomas, the current head editor, stormed into the room consumed with frustration. He was pissed off at the soon-to-be editor Sean Maher for his column that we published in this week’s current issue called “A Note on Diversity from Next Semester’s Newspaper Editor.”…Basically, Maher was inadvertently saying that race doesn’t matter and that we need to be colorblind.
And Jack did a content analysis of the opinion piece:
Ok, I buy that (sort of), we should judge people based on the content of their character just as Martin Luther King, Jr. told us to do. But talks of diversity have nothing to do with the content of people’s character based on their skin color. What talks and discussions of diversity have to do with are looking at age old biases that are ingrained into our minds and souls. Discussions and talks on diversity are there to challenge our assumptions based on people’s race. In a society that is saturated in white privilege and heterosexual privilege we never encounter real genuine discussions on issues such as race and diversity in the newsroom because we are blind to it. It is ingrained in us to see white as the norm, heterosexuality as the norm, etc. So when there are a bunch of white people in the newsroom and in the paper we don’t question it or see anything wrong with it because that is what we’ve been taught to see as normal growing up (subconsciously and consciously). This is why we need to bring up questions of diversity in the workplace, newsroom, etc. because no one is there to bring them up.
And yet whenever someone tries to bring up questions of diversity there is always some white person, always, stating how this makes her or him “uncomfortable,” or, in Maher’s case, “squeamish. Yet that is why we need to bring up issues of diversity, because people are uncomfortable with it. We need to challenge our assumptions and bring us out of our comfort zone, if we don’t than we remain ignorant to the realities of America and to the realities of our own assumptions and privileges.