I wanted to thank you for your cover article regarding President Barack Obama visiting NC State University. It is an honor for the President of the United States to visit the campus and I was excited to see him on the cover of the Nubian Message in a picture from his previous visit to campus. As excited as I was to see your cover, I felt the opposite about The Technician’s cover.
The cover of The Technician portrayed the president with a scowl on his face, a black background and was entitled, “He has a plan, but will it work?” First, I couldn’t believe that, that was the image of the president they chose to use with a scowling look. Secondly, the president is visiting our campus and they decide to question his jobs plan on the cover? Will the plan work? It is absolutely appropriate to have discussion about the president’s jobs plan in The Technician, but I could not believe that that was the cover. I had hoped the cover would set a tone of respect and excitement for the momentous occasion and truly look to welcome the president. Instead, it seemed to question the President.
After seeing the cover, I shared my disappointed with others. The individuals I talked to shared that they thought that the next day The Technician would have a better cover, a cover that showed the president and celebrated this moment for NC State. We all stated that of course there would be a large picture of the president and crowd on the front page of The Technician. Instead, the next day, I saw half of the front page of The Technician dedicated to the president, and the other half dedicated to an African American student accused of sexual assault. I could not believe that these stories were placed beside one another. Not only was the placement upsetting, but so was the fact that The Technician included a picture of the student accused of sexual assault and included the student’s home address in the article. I was extremely disappointed in The Technician for seemingly downplaying our president’s visit and for placing the sexual assault article right beside the president’s article. However, I was not completely shocked that they had done this, because I had expected that in some way they would not fully celebrate the president’s visit.
Ultimately I believe that The Technician is missing cultural understanding regarding diverse people on this campus. I believe that The Technician probably has no idea why it would be offensive for the
president to share the cover of the newspaper with a student accused of sexual assault. I believe that they have no idea why the cover questioning the president the day he visited be upsetting, or why it might be offensive to give out the home address of a student who is accused of a crime and who happens to be African American. This and many other examples (such as the editorial on why the African American community should embrace hate), is why The Nubian Message was ultimately created.
There is an African proverb that states, “Until the lion has its own historian, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” The Nubian Message is the perspective/historian for the African American community and others who do not have a voice at NC State. Too many times students of color have seen The Technician print things that illustrate misunderstanding of the African American community. This is why The Nubian Message’s presence is so important.
However, with the task of being the voice of the African American community on campus, much isexpected of The Nubian Message. There are many issues that impact students of color on this campus that The Nubian Message should be covering. Talk to students on campus about hard hitting issuessuch as enrollment rates of students of color, retention rates of students of color, the fact that not everycollege at NC State has a diversity coordinator. These are issues that The Nubian Message should becovering, not giving valuable space to articles that talk about the importance of leggings. If you don’t tell the story of diverse people on this campus, who will? After all, The Nubian Message has a rich history that we should all be proud of. Let’s try and live up to that history and make a difference.