Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Responses to Days on the Hilltop

TO THE EDITOR:

When I came to Georgetown University for my tour and visit in the summer of 2005, I knew that this was not the most diverse place on earth – I was the only minority in my tour group. I never thought, however, that it would be one of the most racially biased.

The Jena Six issue has received national attention everywhere, except here on the Hilltop, where this issue does not even get enough attention to have a full story printed in our campus newspaper. I understand that the black community at Georgetown is not in the majority, but just because we are not does not mean we should be treated as if we do not exist. We have a voice too, and it should not solely have to be heard in “The Fire This Time.”

Maybe others have never spoken out about this injustice before, but this does not make this behavior acceptable or mean that our voices should be silenced. We should be heard and there should be a change.

Cura Personalis means care for the whole person – not the white person, not the black person, and not Mexican person, but the whole person. The Georgetown community should listen to its own message – when our own campus newspaper only focuses on the cares of the white community, rather than of the entire university community, we are not caring for the whole person. When we only care for one type of person and disregard the rest – that is clearly an injustice.

Simone Dyson (MSB ’10)

Sept. 26, 2007

TO THE EDITOR:

Just because a columnist’s last name is Nixon does not mean he’s fair game for acerbic, CAPITAL-LETTER-FILLED Facebook campaigns. This isn’t JenaGate. No one ransacked the Black House in the dead of the night to win an election.

What does D. Pierce Nixon or THE HOYA have to do with the Jena Six? I know this is the age of instant Web reports, CNN crawls and news feeds, but if you did not want to take the time (or scrounge up the bus fare) to get down to Jena, La., for the protest, that’s not THE HOYA’s fault. They are not obligated to provide minute-by-minute coverage of every wrong perpetrated in the world by any race, color, sex or creed. It’s a campus newspaper. It reports on what’s going on around Georgetown. And last week (as with most weeks), the biggest thing happened to be alcohol. If you want to know about more, throw down 35 cents for the Washington Post.

This week, the opinion pages will undoubtedly be chock-full of the word “race.” Race. Race. Race. Race. Race. There. Does everyone feel better now that race is represented?

If Georgetown’s black community only cares about being in this paper when it involves an opportunity for racial struggle, then good luck with that cause. But if it’s okay with you, even as a black alumnus, I’d much rather read the articles on Georgetown sports, policies, renovations and yes, even shelf space. If my time at THE HOYA was any indication, they’re probably written by a bunch of creamy-skinned folks. I couldn’t care one bit either; they’re fine individuals. And it’s not their fault you’re not running for their positions.

Chenel Josaphat (SFS `06) Former Senior Guide Editor, THE HOYA

TO THE EDITOR:

After reading D. Pierce Nixon’s column (“Jena Rhetoric Stops Progress, Stifles Debate,” THE HOYA, Sept. 25, 2007, A3), I am disappointed and puzzled that he refused to write or talk about race because he was scared, doesn’t believe in race and thinks that racial constructs are “dumb.”

Believing that race doesn’t exist and not wanting to write about it doesn’t make race issues disappear or do anything to address the problems in our communities, especially in the eyes of groups that for a long time have been shut-out. His unwillingness to discuss race will limit discussions of race to club meetings and sociology departments, when they should be discussed openly and honestly throughout the Georgetown community.

Nixon and the Georgetown community at large should be aware that Georgetown’s history with race issues on campus is spotty and students must show leadership by engaging, not withdrawing, from these issues when opportunities arise.

In the past, there have been incidents on campus where students belonging to an ethnic and/or religious minority were targeted. enorahs were stolen, GUPride members were heckled and in one instance BSA had to push for an investigation of racist e-mails circulating on campus. As a former campus leader, I encourage Nixon and other students to take advantage of the opportunity to engage students of different backgrounds by modeling how we should talk about race, not how to ignore it. Showing indifference to issues of race is a slap in the face to students and alumni who have worked hard to bring about more programming, resources and money to a university that is constantly falling short on its goals to diversify its student body, faculty, staff and curriculum.

Luis Torres (COL ’05) Former Vice President, GUSA

TO THE EDITOR:

When I came to Georgetown University for my tour and visit in the summer of 2005, I knew that this was not the most diverse place on earth – I was the only minority in my tour group. I never thought, however, that it would be one of the most racially biased.

The Jena Six issue has received national attention everywhere, except here on the Hilltop, where this issue does not even get enough attention to have a full story printed in our campus newspaper. I understand that the black community at Georgetown is not in the majority, but just because we are not does not mean we should be treated as if we do not exist. We have a voice too, and it should not solely have to be heard in “The Fire This Time.”

Maybe others have never spoken out about this injustice before, but this does not make this behavior acceptable or mean that our voices should be silenced. We should be heard and there should be a change.

Cura Personalis means care for the whole person – not the white person, not the black person, and not Mexican person, but the whole person. The Georgetown community should listen to its own message – when our own campus newspaper only focuses on the cares of the white community, rather than of the entire university community, we are not caring for the whole person. When we only care for one type of person and disregard the rest – that is clearly an injustice.

Simone Dyson (MSB ’10)

Sept. 26, 2007

TO THE EDITOR:

In his column, D. Pierce Nixon announced that he finds race to be a “stupid, dehumanizing method of classifying people into artificial groups for the purpose of discrimination” (“Jena Rhetoric Stops Progress, Stifles Debate,” THE HOYA, Sept. 25, 2007, A3). Unfortunately, however, discrimination and prejudice do exist in our world today. Unfortunately, six young men are being unfairly persecuted in Louisiana because of that blind and senseless hatred. And unfortunately, D. Pierce Nixon presented a viewpoint with similarly offensive ignorance in THE HOYA last week.

We cannot turn our backs on the wronged and the voiceless just because one student imagines that race does not exist. Does Nixon believe that discourse is not what people across America were asking for in their protests and vigils last Thursday? Does he suggest that Georgetown’s own protesters, black and white alike, were advocating “polarizing racial division?”

They were doing no such thing. The students, who sang, prayed and hoped in solidarity, were raising their voices for the future, for justice and understanding, for tolerance and acceptance, and for a world in which, as Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, people “will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Nixon may just want to put his voice to better use. It’s time to stop trying to escape and ignore racial inequality and discrimination, and start trying to right it.

Kevyn Bowles (COL ’09)

Sept. 26, 2007

TO THE EDITOR:

I found D. Pierce Nixon’s column (“Jena Rhetoric Stops Progress, Stifles Debate” THE HOYA, Sept. 25, 2007, A3) on the events in Jena, La., to be strangely out of touch with the actual situation and its connotations. Nixon argued that it is polarizing to invoke race as a key issue in what took place at that high school and the subsequent proceedings, and thus limits conversations that might otherwise be more constructive. To ignore the overwhelming racial implications involved in the affair would be tantamount to not truly discussing the case at all.

In essence, the circumstances surrounding the trials of the Jena Six are a symbol of what continues to happen all over this country. Even before the specific events that led to the trial took place, the high school had already been unofficially segregated into areas that were known to be used only by one race, an idea that conjures images of the racial segregation of the 1950s and 60s . The examples of disproportionate punishment for the black students mimic the racially uneven arrest, prosecution and incarceration rates that are recorded nation-wide.

I appreciate the sentiment Nixon voiced in saying that he is colorblind. I hope, however, he realizes that being colorblind is a privilege. For many of us, the trials of six young people from Jena are a reminder that racial inequalities, in their many forms, do still exist in this country, in some cases with dire implications. To ignore the topic of race in such a setting skews the resulting conservation in a far more negative direction than overly strong language ever could.

Alex Denny (MSB ’09)

Sept. 26, 2007

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