First and foremost, this is not a rebuttal, because that would mean that I am engaging in an argument with Brent Kitchen (author of Dear black community, embrace the hate). This is merely a response to the ignorance and disrespect that I encountered while reading the Technician. I am not describing this as a rebuttal because I do not believe an article with a lack of common sense requires any type of argumentative energy on my part.
In his article, Brent Kitchen quotes Milton Friedman saying “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get high degrees of both.” If you take the actual interpretation of this quote, then I completely agree. The issue is not that Free Expression is not equal to all; the issue is that a student publication marketing traditions at the University depicted a controversial photo of a racial slur. The reason most African American are upset by this word is because it identifies directly with over 200 years of enslavement, fury, oppression, murders, and torture of people who are of the same African descent. If this were a mainstream or corporate publication, it would be pulled and the picture would be removed. Covering the slur with a sticker only attracts more attention to the issue.
No matter which way you try to twist it, it is NEVER okay to distribute a racial slur in a publication that is meant to reflect the traditions of a state-funded public university and its administration. The Chancellor and all the deans of this university have written quotes in The Brick supporting inclusion, diversity, and acceptance to NCSU. If we don’t fight for equality, then who will? Are we supposed to accept slander, prejudice and racism? You want us to welcome words that spark fear, hatred, and blood thirst in so many people still to this day? Hate is not black and white, it’s everyone! To “embrace the hate”, would include discriminating all walks of life! No one should ever have to be okay with this whether they are Caucasian, Jewish, African American, Native American, homosexual…etc. Obviously the “knee-jerk” reactions that Brent described of the past were not enough to educate some of the student body that, we as a strong multicultural student community, will not embrace or welcome any form of disrespect.
I spoke with Student Body President Chandler Thompson myself, and she seemed concerned with the reactions of the students in response to The Brick’s negative photo. She told me she “was very upset. It’s painful to see it now (very obvious) and know that I never saw it during editing”. However, Thompson continued to support distribution of The Brick during the July 8th meeting, and was against removing it from Student Orientation, stating that she was concerned with her brother not receiving The Brick, along with almost 600 other students, which would still include the racial slur. She claims that the book was not in any way shape or form intended to hurt anyone in anyway, and it does NOT support the views of her or her colleagues in Student Government.
I want to make it clear that Brent Kitchen’s article was written solely on his accord, and had nothing to do with Student government itself. Chandler Thompson proposed an event called “Respect the Pack”. This event is intended to “highlight the importance of accepting all members in our diverse NC State Community”. Although I do not think that this will completely solve the issue, it is nice to see that student government is taking corrective steps to express their true views of diversity.
As a member of the Multicultural student body, I think this event is a great way for us to get the message out, and educate some of the more ‘ignorant’ students on campus that it is not accepted to display forms of racism and prejudice here at NCSU.
Junior, Communications – Public Relations
*****On July 8th, 2011 NC State Parents and Family Services received a letter from a concerned family who were upset to find a racial slur in The Brick, which is a publication that introduces university traditions to incoming students. On pg 42 of the publication a photo of the Free Expression tunnel contained the N-Word as well as other offensive messages. The tunnel which gives students the opportunity to write whatever they feel has become the center of controversy for the past couple of years due to hate speech which has been found in the tunnel on several occasions which commonly target minority groups on campus. Immediately after campus officials were notified of the situation, they met in a closed meeting to discuss possible options to remedy the situation. Later that afternoon, they invited students to join the discussion. New Student Orientation made the decision to pull copies of the publication. On July 11th, after several meetings New Student Orientation agreed to continue distributing the publication as long as Student Media made alterations to the page by placing a sticker over the offensive word. Many students had differing opinions on the situation. In the July 14th edition of the Technician, photo editor Brent Kitchen wrote a response to the situation entitled “Dear Black Community, Embrace the Hate” which received numerous feedback from students. Brent Kitchen stated that the black community should learn to embrace all aspects of freedom of expression, even speech targeted towards them and that they should use that as a teaching experience. He also stated that hate speech was not the true issue, nor the real danger. However, a couple of students have differing opinions on this subject and have submitted a response to The Brick controversy, as well as the editorial written by Mr. Kitchen in the Technician.***** – Nubian Message