As journalists, we’re taught to be objective. Go to an event; write an article; cover both sides. We’re taught not to show our bias.
But sometimes, there comes a point when one side is so clearly right that we must take a stand. There comes a point where our silence becomes complicity. While it is our role to report, both our privilege and our platform hold us accountable, compelling us to speak for those who are continually abused, mistreated and silenced.
We refuse to participate in the silencing of black voices.
The Daily Gamecock mourns the loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the countless other black lives that have ended as a direct result of racism, whether publicly accounted for or not. We reject racism and police brutality in all of its many forms and stand in solidarity with the black lives who continue to face prejudice and aggression in innumerable ways. Their voices matter, and so do their stories. It is our responsibility to tell those stories.
We will continue to report.
When there are injustices in our city and school, we will continue to report. When these issues become political or difficult to watch, we will continue to report. As a paper, it is our duty to show hate where there is hate and to hold both our university and our community accountable for the actions they take.
We have a lot to learn. We as a paper have made mistakes. Acts within our own university remind us time and again that the fight against racism and bigotry is far from over. To mask our own flaws would be to deny and discredit the pain that they have caused.
So look at them. Look at the Horseshoe built on the backs of slaves, and the classmates that use racial slurs and the Halloween costumes that make a mockery of someone else’s existence. May our non-black readers look at these incriminating instances and use them as a tool for reflection. Remember the privilege you have to even be attending this university. Be willing to recognize the biases within yourself, because until you are able to see and evolve from personal prejudices, you cannot identify yourself as an ally.
Our allyship as a paper may look different than yours. In our commitment to objective reporting, we seek to represent all USC students in both their triumphs and their struggles. In pledging to uplift the voices of the oppressed, we refuse to give the service of our platform by responding to any bigoted backlash that this letter may receive.
However, as we are taking this moment to explain The Daily Gamecock’s stance on these issues, we ask that our non-black readers also choose allyship. Rather than being contented with sharing a popular blurb for a mere 24 hours on your story, consider protesting, learning and donating.
If you are able, donate to George Floyd’s family GoFundMe, Black Lives Matter, Minnesota Freedom Fund and Columbia or other local bail funds for protesters. If you feel safe to protest, recognize the privilege of your voice and use it to advocate for the marginalized.
Do not let your allyship end when protests stop. Speak up, when someone says something offensive that was “just a joke.” Speak up, when your non-black peers shout the n-word while singing along to the latest hits. Do not allow your passivity to serve as fuel for the racism that is continuously rampant.
Finally, if possible, share your story with us. Send your photos, your videos and your experiences. Contact us with any first-person accounts of protests and injustice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is our privilege and our promise to report.