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Letters to the Editor

Americans should be ‘color-blind’

(Last) week’s letter that was featured in the “Letters to the Editor” section (“Spectator uneven in news coverage, Oct. 14)  really hit a bad note with me. Our founding documents call us to unequivocally know that “All men are created Equal,” and that this right was granted to us by God. But the letter mentioned above does the exact opposite, by creating a wall that is blindly hidden behind the defense of words such as “race,” “minorities,” and “discrimination.” 

 The attitude of most Americans should be that of the philosophy of a “color-blind” America. For in categorizing us into minority, majority, black, white, red, yellow, straight, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and so on, we lose sight of that which truly makes us American: inhabitants of a land that so loves each and everyone of us regardless of who we are or what we look like.

In saying this, I completely understand that there are people who are just plain ignorant, and so was their upbringing, but when ignorance is fought with ignorance, nothing is accomplished!   My closing point here is that the longer we keep putting labels on people thus allowing a breeding ground full of infested prejudice and racism, the farther this great country’s people will be from its creed, that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

-Hunter Johnson
freshman-history major

Spectator editorial board illustrates racism
If there are black students on The Spectator editorial board and they agreed with Ms. Duett’s sentiments then I wish you would give me their names so I can meet with them.  If there are no black students on The Spectator’s editorial board then you need to rectify the situation so that your staff does not make flagrantly bad decisions in the future like the decision made to run the opinion piece written by Ms. Duett.  
Ms. Duett should be ashamed of the sentiments she expressed in the op-ed piece she authored on Oct. 14. Even worse is that The Spectator staff allowed themselves to be publicly affiliated with such an egregious opinion.  I am disappointed that an entire editorial board at a prominent university does not understand the definition of racism.
I challenge the entire editorial staff (all of whom Ms. Duett claims to represent) to actually invoke the standard of newsworthiness the way professional journalists do.   It was news when President Obama made history as the first black president, and the newspapers of this country were not being racist by reporting that fact.  It was news when I made history as the first white woman to be elected president of a branch of the NAACP, and the press was not being racist by reporting that fact.  It was news when a young black woman was elected Homecoming Queen for the first time since 2004, and it would not have been racist for your newspaper to report that fact. 

Instead of reporting newsworthy issues in a fair and unbiased manner, your newspaper has repeatedly ignored the accomplishments of black students, it has repeatedly showcased black students in negative situations, and the editorial board culminated all of that with an egregious editorial claiming that the way “to achieve progression” is to “stop dwelling on the issues of the past.” 

I invite Ms. Duett to the next Krystallnacht worship service at the Jewish Temple where she can tell the assembly that the way “to achieve progression” is to “stop dwelling on the issues of the past.”  

If racism is what The Spectator editorial board wanted to illustrate, then it quite succeeded. 

Leigh Touchton, President
Valdosta-Lowndes NAACP

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One comment

  1. Let me begin this with the fact that I am NOT a racist by any means. I abhor racism and I do not understand it in the least; it makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I cannot fathom how differences in skin pigmentation and bodily structure could possibly be grounds for the vileness of racism that has spawned heinous acts throughout history and continues to permeate our society. However, racism exists regardless of the senselessness of its vile existence, and, whether or not I understand it, I know racism when I see it. I might also add that I hold to no political party and my view on racism is simply this: that everyone, everywhere should make every attempt, in their country, city, family, and in their own hearts and minds to ERADICATE IT.
    While this is primarily on the latter editorial, I will make one comment on the former. To Mr. Hunter Johnson, I would say that by his words he is one of the most intelligent individuals, and a freshman nonetheless, that I have known of in quite a while. I applaud your words and the truth thereof. If more people in this country were as wise, this nation would be a far better place.
    Ms. Touchton’s vehement and highly unprofessional attack on Ms. Duett and the staff of the Spectator is the only truly egregious thing I have ever witnessed in this newspaper in the time that I have been at this university. She shamelessly insinuates and implies through this editorial that the entire staff of the Spectator is racist and have attained their positions through biased and racist means. She tactlessly assaults them and accuses them of willfully excluding black students from the paper and even the staff of the paper itself. First, it is not, to my knowledge, an often occasion that a student (of ANY race) is highlighted in the Spectator, excepting some sports articles. Second, there are two basic types of racism: the degradation of a race or any member of that race by another race or its members, or the superimposition of a race, or any member of a particular race, above another race or its members, for whatever reason. While Ms. Touchton chastises the Spectator’s staff for the former, she practically demands the latter of these! She demands that, “If there are no black students on The Spectator’s editorial board then you need to rectify the situation […],” virtually commanding them that they “[…] need to […]” put black students on the Spectator’s staff ONLY BECAUSE OF THEIR RACE. This is racism.
    Although the accusations imply multiple infractions on the part of the Spectator’s staff, anyone who has read the recent issues of the paper know exactly what is at the heart of this matter: the neglecting on the part of the newspaper’s staff to print an article about the homecoming queen, and single picture on the front page of young black women being talked to by the VSU Police.
    As to the first, I don’t have any clue what a homecoming queen does, what the purpose of one is, or how a popularity contest between young women from competing sororities has anything to do with my life, academic career, or my college experience. Therefore, I do not really care to read about it in the paper when there are other things that WILL influence me and these things I have listed. Honestly, I congratulate the winner and I am sure it is a great honor, but from my point of view, it is nothing more than a local beauty pageant. Regardless of however important it is to whomever, it cannot be compared as Ms. Touchton has stated. President Obama was the first non-white man elected to the office of President of the United States. This was a groundbreaking event in history, and Ms. Touchton’s own appointment is no small achievement either. Obviously, considering it was stated that “[…] for the first time since 2004 […],” this is not the first time that a young black woman has won this title, and therefore, cannot be compared, at least, not without implying that there has been an excess of racism in the student body since 2004, which would be highly offensive to many, I’m sure, and an allegation almost impossible to prove. To lift up ANY person because of their RACE is racism, plain and simple. I would pose a question to Ms. Touchton on whether she wants to be remembered because of her achievements or because she was a white woman. Ms. Touchton practically says outright that this year’s homecoming queen should be publicized because she is a young black woman. Not because she is highly deserving of the title, of the publicity itself, or anything else, simply that she is important because she is black. If that is not racism, then what is it?
    The second primary issue was that of a picture on the front page of the Spectator featuring young black women being disciplined by the University Police Department for handing out fliers for local bars/clubs. The obvious point of this was, contrary to many poorly-thought-out beliefs, a warning sign, basically meaning “Hey! Stop doing this! You will get in a lot of trouble!”. Yet it has come under assault for the race of the people in the picture! Anyone who reads this, just ask yourself, “how many times daily do I see people getting into major trouble with the VSU Police?” Not too often. Especially not for some infractions that the University has seen fit to start heavily enforcing. So what does Ms. Touchton ask of the Spectator staff and University police? To have a multi-racial (university, or even governmentally enforced perhaps) staff follow the multi-racial (university/government enforced) police around everywhere? Or to have afore-said police call afore-said staff whenever they are doing anything important that involves only a multi-racial group? Perhaps they should have to balance things out: bashing a black person in an issue will require bashing a white, Asian, and Native American as well? Should the Spectator have NAACP censors so that no one group is offended too much by it? Speaking of which, the NAACP is supposed to support ALL minorities, should not all groups be equally represented? I, myself, am part (a small part but enough to have an interest in their representation) Native American, the people from whom the land this nation sits on was stolen. Why is there not a Native American often featured in the Spectator? Also, why is Ms. Touchton not bashing the Spectator staff for this failure? Why are there not members of every race featured equally in every weekly issue? Why? Because the students who run the Spectator are just that, students. Their primary responsibility is to go to class and get good grades so that they can graduate. Additionally, because it is not humanly reasonable to ensure every possible human variation is entirely equally represented in the newspaper. Ms. Touchton declares that it was highly newsworthy to have Barack Obama highly publicized in papers upon his historic victory, yet where was the equal representation of John McCain in those papers. He was the first white presidential candidate in US history to lose to a non-white! It is as unreasonable and ridiculous to think this as it is to demand absolute equivalent representation for everyone on everything in a school newspaper, or in any newspaper.
    Ms. Touchton, while having a highly reputable and laudable past efforts, many which I highly support and applaud her for, is the one who should be ashamed for her scathing attack on the Spectator’s staff and Ms. Duett in particular. Ms. Duett clearly meant not to forget the past, but to FORGIVE the past. What has been done, has been done. Should someone hold a grudge against their cousin because their grandfathers did not like each other and their children married? No, not anymore than blacks should hold a grudge against whites for the slavery imposed on or imposed by their respective ancestors. In her closing, she mentions Kristallnacht, a Jewish remembrance of the major beginnings of the Holocaust, a night where hatred ran free and the Nazi persecution of the German Jews began on a nationwide scale. This is a night of remembrance for those who were killed and persecuted, not a group that comes together to develop ways to get back at or steam over hate for Nazis, or whites in general. It is not a “dwelling on the past”, it is a remembrance and honoring of those who suffered under that persecution and tyranny. Should those who are descended from tyrants be persecuted and put down simply because they are of the same blood? Of course not, not if they are not the same way. No more than those who were once enslaved are still slaves by birthright or have any right to claim that they deserve more than any other person. Racism exists. However, it is continually perpetuated, not just by those who mindlessly hate or even mildly dislike people of another race, but also by those who seek to uphold people merely BECAUSE they are of another race! To Ms. Touchton, I would say that her organization is one of the primary proponents of this. The NAACP was founded to be, and should still be there, as a guardian, a champion against the evil of racism, not a brutal shock-trooper who pounces upon anything that could be legally construed as a racist act. Brutality, whether physical or verbal, only leads to conflict, conflict will lead to hatred in one way or another, and hatred is the fuel of racism.
    I will conclude along the same lines of reasoning as Mr. Johnson: until the very idea of “race” dies forever, the evil that is racism will live on.

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