Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Daily staff members of color feel discrimination

First Published: The Stanford Daily, Volume 197, Issue 64, 24 May 1990.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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WE, AS STAFF PERSONS of color at The Daily, strongly condemn The Daily’s treatment of the May 18 article on the poster attacking Gordon Chang. We also condemn the sidebar article on the League of Revolutionary Struggle – which we feel was irresponsibly reported – and the nature of the subsequent coverage.

Fundamentally, the articles on the League were patronizing and insulting to the communities of color at Stanford. They offered tenuous and unsubstantiated links to student of color groups, giving the impression that these students of color were duped by the League. In order to have written such articles, we feel one would have to believe that people of color are stupid enough to be duped into serving as “front groups” of the League.

Moreover, the allegations are a direct attack on the self-determination of students of color, on the integrity of student of color groups and on the more than 20-year legacy of struggle, sacrifice and positive change that students of color have built on this campus.

The May 18 article offered no objective information about student of color groups, the United Farm Workers, Amiri Baraka or any other of the supposed League affiliates listed. As a matter of fact, in a journalistic style we have never seen before at The Daily, the article offered not a single named source for its allegations.

Furthermore, The Daily’s May 22 editorial was painfully hypocritical. On the one hand, the editorial criticized and condemned the “McCarthy-esque” poster. On the other hand, The Daily reprinted the flyer in full, advertising the slander to the community.

We feel The Daily’s article on the flyer actually supported the flyer by misrepresenting the Asian-American studies campaign, saying that “several student organizations worked last year to gain a tenure-track professorship for Chang .. although the campaign never called for the hiring of a particular individual. And The Daily legitimized the flyer’s racist and McCarthyistic accusations with the sidebar, twice as long as the actual flyer article, about “a highly secretive nationwide organization ... that focuses on people of color groups for its mass support,” and other allegations which we feel were inflammatory and under-lyingly racist. These Daily articles were themselves McCarthyistic.

We feel The Daily’s actions represent a reckless and irresponsible abuse of journalistic power. We realize that The Daily is seen as a respected institution that is able to shape the reality of this campus. The Daily failed to uphold journalistic standards. Such poor judgment demands responsible action.

We feel that this unfortunate incident has revealed to us that we, as Daily staff persons of color, have no real respect or decision-making power at The Daily. The multicultural editors were not consulted on the fact that such expose-style articles would be printed, even though it was known that the articles would have profound effects on all the communities of color.

Even worse, the news features editor, an African-American male who is generally involved in all investigative articles, was, we feel, purposely kept in the dark that any such article was being planned. We feel the only reason he was excluded was because the color of his skin made him suspect.

People of color were not allowed to have any input into the decision to run the May 18 article, subverting the positions of people of color who are editors and contradicting The Daily’s own claims of inclusiveness. We have never experienced such a blatant abuse of power and such a manipulation of standard Daily processes and procedures.

Moreover, with the treatment of the latest expose-article, printed on May 23, we feel staff persons of color were relegated to a minimal and essentially powerless role. Late Tuesday night, a staff person of color was asked to read the story, but was not given any decision-making power on the newsworthiness of the article. The persons of color who did see the article saw it only at the very end of a months-long editorial process and felt powerless to question the sources, content or angle of the article.

We, as Daily staff persons of color, are witness to the fact that The Daily has shown no substantial remorse for these disrespectful and dehumanizing actions and continues to commit them.

Unfortunately, another indication of the problems at The Daily is the fact that there are very few staff persons of color. Although there are not many of us, we felt it was necessary for us to make clear our condemnation of the articles and to clarify our grievances.

We, as a group, have discussed possible paths of action, including mass resignation as a form of protest. Many of us no longer want to be associated with a paper like The Daily. However, we realize that it is important that we stay at The Daily and fight to make The Daily reflective of all people, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. We hope that one day students of color will be more than tokens at The Daily.

Raoul Mowatt News features editor
Steve Phillips
Danzy Senna Multicultural editors
Minal Hajratwala
Raina Jackson
Rob Jamieson Staff writers
Valerie Mih
Maria Peters At-large editorial board members
Carrie Chang Columnist