To the editor,
We write to share with you our delight at the re-election of President Obama and the newspaper’s decision to cover the election night results so prominently.
Thank you for putting this momentous moment in national history on your front page and offering us a chance to celebrate the news.
Unfortunately, our jubilation did not last long. As we read the story about the community’s response to the election results, we were disappointed by the decision to quote a woman who said the President’s re-election meant she and her friend wouldn’t “have to become strippers.”
This quotation is problematic on a number of levels: Black bodies have a long history of being politicized, and this quotation participates in and continues the commodification of black women’s bodies as sexual objects. We understand this was a joke, but we are worried you failed to recognize that joking is one of the most sophisticated forms of mockery that can be used to reinforce negative stereotypes.
Furthermore, the decision to begin the story with a quotation from a student who connected the President’s re-election with her ability to earn Pell Grants that will allow her to stay in school merits question.
The choice to use this comment reflects the rhetoric of a very vicious campaign by conservatives to position President Obama as the “food stamp candidate.”
The comment reduces the college experience and a person’s ability to afford it to handouts, and we all know that student aid is more complicated than this quotation suggests.
Ultimately, we are disappointed the paper did not use this event to highlight how a college campus can be an emblem of educational and democratic opportunities. Instead, you went for spectacle.
We had students demonstrating and participating in democracy. The vote means so much to Americans, particularly to members of our African American communities and women, who are part of our citizenry long denied the right to vote.
The newspaper’s coverage overlooked an incredible opportunity to celebrate marginalized groups. That was the news, and we are sorry you missed it.
junior from Chicago studying social work
Asst. Director of
Center for Inclusive Excellence
LGBTQ Resource Center