What we’re reading: Campus responses to the BDH

In light of the recent opinions articles published by The Brown Daily Herald, there have been numerous statements and articles written by individual Brown students and student-run organizations. As a widely read campus publication, we have a privilege and a duty to inform Brown students of campus happenings and to serve as a platform that elevates marginalized voices on Brown’s campus. Below is a collection of the responses that embody many of the discussions happening on our campus.

We encourage readers to read these statements and articles in their entirety. If any individual students, organizations, or groups wish to have their published works included in this piece, please email blog@browndailyherald.com.

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In a guest column for the BDH“Exchange Columbus: The case for Indigenous People’s Day,”  Native Americans At Brown argues why the University should change fall weekend to Indigenous People’s Day, and provides the historical and current context of the Native American experience:

“This is not just a symbolic or political stance that we are taking. Our continuing fight for Native visibility on campus has consequences for us as students, Native communities and the greater campus community of students of color. We are living testaments to Native resistance, and we are requesting a celebration of ourselves and millions of others like us, rather than a University erasure of the genocide that we had to fight back to get here. This renaming of Fall Weekend is just one small step in longer walk towards institutionalizing real support for Native students.”

NAB has also released a petition to the University that currently has over 1,000 signatures.

Leaders of several Black student organizations released a joint statement to the Brown Daily Herald in which they demand accountability and reform from the editorial board:

“As the oldest and most prominent publication on this campus, we hold the BDH accountable as an organization for their practices and how they approach controversial issues. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, whether or not students disagree; however, as an organization with privilege, power, and a platform, the BDH is, and will be, held to a higher standard than any one individual.”

“A Statement from a Collective of AAPI Students,” published in bluestockings magazine, is a statement of solidarity written by a collective of Asian/Asian American and Pacific Islander students at Brown, which calls on AAPI students to take action and speaks on AAPI complicity:

“In weaponizing the model minority myth, white supremacy broadcasts the economic success of a narrow subset of Asian Americans in the United States to justify the oppression of Native and Black communities. AAPI complicity and active participation in white supremacy can and does happen. This complicity upholds the systemic oppression of all communities of color. As AAPI people, our own shared histories of imperialism are connected to those of other people of color… we must be even more thoughtful and compassionate in the ways we build coalition with communities of color whose oppression we have historically benefited from.”

In this bluestockings magazine editors statement, the magazine speaks to ethical journalism and offers itself as a platform and space for response:

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.”

Langston Glaude ’18 illustrates in this Obsidian article “on the topic of freedom of speech” the nuances of freedom of speech, and identifies how we must protect members of our communities:

“… nothing is worth more than the safety of another human being and their existence. Our words carry weight. And they all too often fall on the backs of the most marginalized and vulnerable in our communities, including our community here at Brown. There are consequences for the things we say and do, and they have an impact. Own it.”

In “A Statement from a Collective of Latinx and Latin-American Students,” members of the Latinx community stand in solidarity with both NAB and the leaders of Black student groups, while also offering a history of the indigeneity and native roots of Latinxs and Latin-American students:

We encourage Latinx and Latin American students to reflect critically on how their racial formations have been informed by Native and Indigenous histories, and ways in which we have been complicit in the erasure of indigenous peoples.”

Published in bluestockings magazine, “A Statement from a Collective of Multiracial and Biracial Students,”  is a demand for action encouraging biracial and multiracial students to use their “distinct and intersecting” identities to stand with communities of color:

“… it is vital for multiracial and biracial people to acknowledge and challenge the persistence of racial violence. We must be critical, thoughtful and compassionate in this work and as we build coalitions across communities of color. At this moment, we also must actively center the humanity, safety, and work of Native and Indigenous students as the recent articles and letters most specifically enact anti-Indigenous violence.”

“On whiteness, free speech and missing the point,” is an opinion article published by the BDH, written collectively by Liam Dean-Johnson ’16, Aidan Dunbar ’16, Anastasia Gorodilova ’16, Nico Sedivy ’17, and Madison Shiver ’17, which addresses white complicity while also calling for communities of care:

“Pain is not useful. Trauma is not a teaching tool. Our complacency has unfairly forced students of color to be our educators as well as our classmates… Why are we refusing to care for, listen to and stand with people of color in our community?”

In an editor’s note published on October, 7, 2015, the 125th Editorial Board of the BDH acknowledged the BDH’s and Brown’s history “that is founded on inequality” and apologized for the publication of two columns:

“This is not the first time The Herald has published racist material, and while we hope it will be the last, a promise is not enough. Over the next three weeks, the organization’s editorial board will reexamine the editorial processes that allowed these mistakes and previous ones to happen. Because people’s opinions are messy and often controversial, we will rethink the standards by which we evaluate columns. We will also revisit our existing editing process, including its structure and timeline, and seek the advice of professional journalists and the community, particularly centers that deal with dimensions of social identity.”

On October, 8, 2015, UCS published a statement of solidarity “with students of color in the wake of racist publications in the Brown Daily Herald this week.” Their statement was also covered by the BDH article entitled “UCS voices support for students hurt by the Herald.

6 Comments

  1. Convenient

    This article conveniently leaves out any links to any of the op-ed pieces on the other side defending free expression. What a joke.

    BlogDH should stick to writing fluff pieces like “drunk, sober, high”.

  2. Brown '17

    LOL. Thanks for leaving out a huge part of the conversation…

  3. BrownLiesOmissions&Distortions

    Neither of the articles were racist. Brown has exposed itself to be overrun by anti-humanists and evolution denialists.

  4. Brown '16

    Soo…..you aren’t reading any op-ed that expressed the other viewpoint on this issue? Seems bizarre to post about responses to the BDH while conveniently leaving out an entire portion of the conversation….There were very well articulated reasonable op-eds that articulated the importance of free speech throughout this whole debacle..I will link them because you have chosen to purposefully leave them out and “erase” these voices..ironic no?

    http://www.browndailyherald.com/2015/10/15/cheit-josephson-loury-miller-70-p02-spoehr-free-expression-matters/

    http://www.browndailyherald.com/2015/10/14/dichter-17-gulati-17-some-speech-hurts-and-thats-okay/

    Thanks for nothing….

  5. Brown '16

    This comment is a test to see if all comments require moderation.

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