We are writing to express deep concern for the “Street Talk” column in the recent Foghornissue. We are sure that this is not the only letter you have received; and perhaps this is not the only letter you have received from non-USF individuals.
We acknowledge that receiving letters that criticize your work can be irritating, or even offensive. Let us start by saying that the discomfort this may cause does not compare to the harm that this “Street Talk” piece perpetuates.
By using colonization as playful exposition, the paper automatically goes against its own saying “Freedom and Fairness.” Students of color on your campus cannot be free or treated fairly if their history is forgotten, if their own paper excludes and alienates them. The question “If you were a pilgrim, what state would you colonize first and why?” asks for students’ opinions by encouraging them to think like colonizers– there are entire groups of people on your campus who meet, organize, and mobilize to fight such insidious ways of thinking, and with one question the paper trivializes their efforts by saying, Why not think of it? It’s a fun! If the journalist who posed this question was not aware of this small but significant population on campus, then it only proves our invisibility even more. In these ways, the words asked are not free, and free no one. To ask those words, “If you were a pilgrim, what state would you colonize first and why?” a person has to steal, and a person has to oppress other people.
The question is not fair because it is white-supremacist and eurocentric. The question invites readers who follow only eurocentric perspectives, but humiliates and insults readers who know more truthful histories. It also fails the majority of USF’s matriculating student population by failing to educate or challenge; and yes, a journalist can be fair while being playful– a good journalist, anyway. Thanksgiving is not celebrated by all; it is mourned by many who have lost their language. It is a day of atonement for the colonizer violence forced onto those who have lost their way of life, their psychology, their families, their opportunities. While some may argue that it is not the paper’s job to acknowledge all groups, everywhere, all the time; we argue that student media must not be used as a tool to deliberately or accidentally oppress any group, anywhere, at any time.
We urge the journalists and editors to consider the violent nature of the Thanksgiving holiday. We urge the journalists and editors to consider a public apology.
Niki Escobar, writer
Melissa-Ann Reyes, journalist
Sunshine Velasco, artist
Kendra Arimoto, writer
Jessi Sabogal, artist
Kevin Tillman, activist
Jacqulyn Eun Sun Whang, USF
Jocelyn Ng, USF student
Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain
Opinion Editor: Laura Waldron