In the Nov. 18 issue of the Foghorn, the Opinion Section published a Street Talk question that read, “If you were a pilgrim, which state would you colonize first and why?” Four USF students answered this question. In the following week, the Foghorn editorial staff received several e-mail messages responding to this question, claiming it was an intentional attack on persons of color and minorities who have been and are continually suppressed by colonizers around the world. The Foghorn staff is dedicating this column to respond to these complaints.
First, the Opinion Editor, as well as the rest of the staff, would like to apologize for allowing this question to be posed and published. It was never the Foghorn’s intention for any member of the USF community to feel discriminated against based on our paper’s content. The Foghorn staff recognizes that the word “colonize” can be interpreted with a violent and/or oppressive connotation that was not intended upon the creation of this Street Talk question. If given the chance to re-phrase the question, we would substitute the word “colonize” for “settle in,” as the latter conveys our true intention of the question.
Although our staff received numbers of negative letters and experienced considerable internal conflict based on this question, we stand together as an executive board to refute the allegations of white supremacy and Eurocentrism written in the Letter to the Editor on this page. Although our word choice was poor in this particular column, it is clear based on the content of our weekly paper that the Foghorn staff is not tolerant of prejudice, racial or ethnic discrimination, or of the oppression of any group, anywhere, at any time.
The claim that the Foghorn staff is choosing to ignore history or has completely forgotten history is entirely false. No Foghorn staff member is under the impression that the United States government and its populace have not oppressed racial and ethnic minorities in both the past and the present. Conversely, the Foghorn Staff is comprised of individuals from a broad range of racial, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, and sexual minorities. To accuse our staff of poor word choice or politically incorrect questions is a valid allegation. But, to accuse our staff of ignoring worldwide oppression, furthering colonialism, and advocating for white supremacy and persecution of all minorities is fallacious and unfounded.
The Foghorn seeks to create an academic environment that challenges readers and inspires the USF community to take action for social justice related causes, specifically minority rights locally, nationally, and globally. The Opinion Section continually publishes editorials that call for students to take action against forces of oppression and inequality. For critics to claim that this is not so is to admit that the critics themselves have not taken the time to ever read a complete issue of the Foghorn.
We would like to, again, emphasize our apology for our tasteless question. If you have a specific concern please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain
Opinion Editor: Laura Waldron