On October 5th 2015, Brown University’s independent daily newspaper The Brown Daily Herald (BDH) published a racist, harmful and grossly misinformed article entitled “The White Privilege of Cows,” which used presumptions of biological differences between races to build an argument based on eugenics. Upon complaints from the student body, the BDH apologized. However, such a post-hoc apology prompted by uproar does not excuse, or acknowledge, the systemic violence, hurt, and trauma caused by propagating such views.
Moreover, this is far from the first time that the BDH has published, and publicized, a racist piece. The very next day (October 6th), a piece by the same author was published which suggested that Native American peoples should be grateful for colonialism: “Columbian Exchange Day.”
bluestockings believes that ethical journalism means taking responsibility for the content we publish and for the voices we amplify. Ethical journalism does not allow for racist opinions to be published and widely circulated under the pretense of exploring “diverging arguments.” It is the responsibility of a publication to critically consider the effects of the words that they privilege with publication. When the BDH hides behind the excuse of an “internal error,” they merely expose the ignorance that allowed this piece to emerge from the editorial process unchecked.
This marks yet another instance in which we are reminded of the ever-present bigotry on Brown’s campus, and of the investment that wealthy and predominantly white structures have in uplifting these vitriolic ideas. The burden once again falls on students who hold marginalized identities to assert and legitimize their presence—and anger. The daily lives of Brown students from marginalized communities are continually assaulted by the ignorance and racism of their peers, as they are silenced by publications such as The Brown Daily Herald.
In light of these events, bluestockings hopes to offer a space, and a platform, for people who wish to respond.
How do you feel about the BDH’s #internalerror? Share your thoughts using #BrownDailyHaters