Letter to the Editor: Criticism of “Black at BSM” lacks merit

I recently read the Knight Errant’s “Black at BSM” series, and I commend the KE and Parker Breza for their reporting. The subsequent response from Jean Nightingale was perfect and made me wish I’d worked harder in her class.

Other responses were less encouraging. The notion that the KE failed to present “both sides” of this story is spurious: if an article is focused on presenting the perspectives of students of color, it is not incumbent upon the KE to seek out white students’ opinions. Those white students’ opinions about the experiences of students of color do not constitute “the other side” of the discussion. Why, exactly, should white students be asked to comment on how it feels to be a person of color at BSM?

Perhaps some students do have a right to “not feel alienated from [their] own school newspaper,” but if that’s the case, then BSM’s students of color also have a right to not feel alienated from their own school — full stop. If white students don’t enjoy feeling alienated from their school’s newspaper, they might consider how it feels to be alienated by more than just the newspaper.

Furthermore, publishing an article that upsets a reader is not the same thing as failing to respect that reader’s beliefs. If “Black at BSM” has upset some students, it is probably worth those students’ time to examine what made them so upset in the first place. My guess is that their discomfort stems from something other than the notion that the KE is besmirching BSM’s good name.

Finally, I’d like to applaud Zeph Kaffey’s call for some kind of class around cultural competency. Ms. Nightingale’s letter suggests that there is at least one BSM faculty member who is well-equipped to teach such a class.

Keep up the good work,

Dan Weber
Class of 2002