Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Duke Chronicle’s Racial Insensitivity

Duke University’s student newspaper, The Chronicle(TC), has an editorial board of a dozen or so students including the current and previous year’s editors. While TC editorials are unsigned, we’re told they represent the thinking of all board members unless a tag line following an editorial identifies one or more member as having recused her- or himself.

Monday, TC editorial board
noted the annerversary of the takeover of the Allen Building forty years ago by Duke African-American students demanding just treatment from the university.

TC called the takeover a “defining moment in the history of student activism at Duke [which] demands reflection on the current state of race at the University.”

I was with TC to that point. But the editorial reflection which followed was disapointing, most of all because of its smug racial insensitivity.

Here in italics are excerpts from the editorial after which I offer some comments concerning its racial insensitivity.

. . . Today, the problems of racial interaction on campus have little to do with overt racism. Instead, complacency, an unwillingness to engage with uncomfortable differences, are at the heart of the issue.

The students who occupied Allen were asking to be recognized as students in the first place: Today, the problem is a lack of interaction between segments of the student body.

Indeed, the University has made great strides since 1969. Our student body is at least as racially diverse as those of our peer institutions. Moreover, since the Black Faculty Strategic Initiative in 1993, and through the Faculty Diversity Initiative in 2003, the University has been at the forefront of nationwide attempts to find and retain minority faculty.

What racial tension there is on campus no longer derives from the slurs and public disrespect that the Allen students experienced.

But it is apparent to almost every student here that the self-segregation and easy complacency that characterize everyday life in America are reflected on this campus. . . .

[The] mission of a university is not only to grant degrees and force students to absorb knowledge in the abstract. As President Richard Brodhead announced when he arrived here in 2004, Duke should aim to be a community where students absolutely cannot shy away from "engagement." . . .

The University is a far cry from what it was on the day the Allen Building was taken, and for this we should be thankful. But we would be doing those students a disservice if we do not remember that their legacy is not only a few concrete changes. It is a call to give ourselves an honest look in the mirror and to always do better.

The entire TC editorial’s here.


My comments:

TC’s “reflection on the current state of race at the University” says nothing about African-American students on and about campus who were hounded and threatened by hate-full crowds waving CASTRATE and GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE and circulating VIGILANTE and WANTED posters.

The editorial says nothing about a group of 88 Duke faculty who took out a full-page TC ad which thanked angry crowds who hounded and threatened African-American students.

And there’s nothing in the editorial about a white hate-group which advocates violence shouting down at the Durham Courthouse threats, including death threats, at a black Duke student who was the victim of a gang rape frame-up attempt by a rogue DA abetted by others, including many at Duke.

No one can fault TC for failing to mention the banners, posters, crowds, faculty enablers, and a racist hate group which within the past three years all targeted African-American Duke students while most of Duke either joined in or said nothing.

TC didn’t mention any of the foregoing horrific events because none of them happened to African-American Duke students.

But everything I’ve described and much more happened on and about Duke within the last three years.

The Duke student victims of those horrific acts and the racism and hate which fueled them were, as TC's editorial board knows, white.

But that no excuse for TC’s editorial board treating their fellow students as invisible men and saying nothing about what happened to them in TC's relection on "the current state of race at the University.”

TC’s editorial was headed: Measuring The Good Of This Place

A more accurate head would have been: Revealing The Racial Insensitity Of This Editorial Board

No tag line naming any board member who recused followed the editorial.


Anonymous said...

NEW YORK—Troy Bartell, 22, former editor-in-chief of Boston University's student newspaper The Daily Free Press, said Monday that his once-prestigious paper is in "free-fall," and is now printing only "ridiculous, brutally incompetent shit."

"This is lousy, lousy journalism," said Bartell, who still scours the paper's online edition for typos despite graduating in May 2006. "The way they covered the School of Management's Casino Night this year was a slap in the face. Complete and utter fluff. Don't tell me what the people were wearing, damn it—tell me who won the raffle at the end of the night, and what the prizes were."

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...


You don't get it, John. Don't you know racism and racial insensitivity is a one-way street?

[sarc off]

Anonymous said...

You're post's being passed around campus.

The Chronicle's routinely racially insensitive where whites are concerned.

It goes with being PC and Allen Building pleasers.

Duke '11

Anonymous said...

Glad someone's finally noticed Duke and The Chronicle's racism.

The anti-white racism is worse now than was the anti-black racism in the 70s.

Duke's racism, which has been so pronounced under Brodhead's "leadership", is one of the reasons I no longer contribute.

Anonymous said...

They say that 'self-segregation' is the issue?

Well then who's fault is that? How many groups, organizations, departments etc are there dedicated to each separate minority group?

And who will never be allowed to have a dedicated group, organization or department for themselves? That would be white, heterosexual people, that's who.

So if white heterosexual people are the only ones who are not allowed to group within their own community, it must be the rest who are 'self-segregating'.

Scott S.

Anonymous said...

JinC -
Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the Holder speech. In part I view it as a piece to the Duke Chronicle article. It would seem, unless I am reading Holder wrong, that one's choice of companions must be pc or one can be called out as a racist. I am curious if this is a two way or a one way street.

Nicole said...

Yeah. Anti-white racism is worse than anti black racism because white people are not allowed to vote, are hung, are sprayed with fire hoses.