News Editor Responds to Parent Criticism of BLM Edition.

Response defends and clarifies intent of special issue.

As the parent of a student at SJHHS, I periodically read The Express. Volume 11, issue 8, looks like a page from the book of liberal theology. Unless I missed it, every piece written promotes the plight of “black victims” in our society. Why not offer the readers a balanced view? Why not also include black voices who embody an attitude of empowerment and personal responsibility? Reference people like: Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr, Larry Elder, Candace Owens, Brandon Tatum, Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain, Allen West, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Morgan Freeman, Kanye West… Offering a balanced view is the difference between education…and indoctrination. 

Dear Reader,

There are many things to address in your comment. As stated multiple times in the print edition, systemic racism is NOT a political issue. The Black Lives Matter movement is a bipartisan initiative to rectify the injustices that Black people in America face. So no, our edition was not a page from the book of liberal theology.

Secondly, the stated intent of the special edition was to draw attention to instances of systemic racism in CUSD and showcase what students and district staff are doing to correct it.

Regarding the coverage of “black victims” in our society: yes we did highlight the injustices that Black Americans face, because people need to be cognizant of what they face. One in every three Black males is a victim to the racist criminal justice system, Black people are killed by police unjustly. Black Americans still face injustices in applying for financial loans, employment, and education. Again, these are not points from the liberal agenda, but horrifying facts of the world backed up by data time and time again. 

Our series was not intended as a showcase of successful Black Americans, as your comment suggested it should be. It was reporting on a truth: that Black Americans are not valued as equal to their counterparts in society. 

It is  absolutely horrible to overlook a whole system that is pitted against Black Americans and label the lack of Black representation in society as an issue of character”

An issue voiced in your comment was the lack of balance in bringing up Black figures who embody a good attitude and positive attributes. We are grateful for the feedback, but the desire for coverage of Black exceptionalism when we are covering systemic racism reeks of tokenism, a fallacy we covered in our special section. 

Coverage of Black figures who have been successful and are popular in the public sphere does not balance out or diminish the struggles that Black Americans have to face.

Tokenism is the practice of making a symbolic effort to be inclusive to members of typically BIPOC groups, most often by recruiting members of underrepresented groups in order to give the illusion of racial or sexual equality within an institution. For every Black figure that this comment mentioned, about 10 other successful white figures could be mentioned. In simple terms, this comment is misleading in the same way that a doctor would be wrong to give every child in a classroom a bandaid if only one child scraped their knee.

Furthermore, a closer look at the people mentioned should prove that Black people are experiencing unnatural hardships that a white person would not have to face.

For example, Fredrick Douglass, while he was an influential figure had to teach himself how to read and was beaten and sold multiple times. No white man at the time would have experienced the absolute atrocities Douglass faced. He did manage to overcome and escape that system, but thousands of other Black Americans at the time did not have the same luck. Bringing up Douglass’ success in society does not erase the plight of so many other slaves who suffered at the time. 

A select few Black Americans success stories do not erase the struggles many have to face. If there weren’t so many hurdles placed on the courses of African American’s lives, there would be many more people who reached the same level of fame that Morgan Freeman and Martin Luther King Jr. did. 

To assume that victims of systemic injustice who necessarily haven’t been able to succeed do not “embody an attitude of empowerment and personal responsibility “ is shameful and harmful. 

There is no deficiency in character or resilience in the people who aren’t as famous as Kanye West. It is  absolutely horrible to overlook a whole system that is pitted against Black Americans and label the lack of Black representation in society as an issue of character. A white person has no intrinsically better value than a black person but they do have a whole history of government institutions ensuring that they can succeed to a better degree than a Black person.  

Our intention with reporting on the Black Lives Matter movement was not to convert anyone but to bring awareness to an issue that many are not educated about, and to show a perspective of other people’s lives in America. ”

Another issue in your letter, is the idea of balance in contrast to indoctrination.

First off, The Express staff has never and will never aim to indoctrinate others. We report on news, and opinion articles are labeled as such. 

Our goal has always been to inspire conversation, and offer contrasting viewpoints. Our readers’ minds are not so malleable that any reporting we do can monumentally change their viewpoint. Our intention with reporting on the Black Lives Matter movement was not to convert anyone but to bring awareness to an issue that many are not educated about, and to show a perspective of other people’s lives in America. 

While we do appreciate the fact that readers are reading our editions and are starting discussion, we will continue to raise awareness about the systemic injustices that Black Americans face. 

Public figures are important to bring up, and we may in the future write a story about what Kanye West and others are doing, but it will NEVER negate the fact that systemic racism is real, and a problem that everyone needs to work to fix.