By Ray Hernandez
Last week’s editorial criticizing the silent protest during a finals examination period struck a chord amongst many students, both white and of color, and received huge backlash. Many came to the defense of the events that happened the morning of November 26 when Mele Makalo ‘15 and Roxanna Menchaca ‘15 started a silent protest, “Can’t Hear Me, Can’t Educate Me”, in response to Visiting Professor Bruno Anili who, while teaching a course on Race and Law in the US continuously ignored and brushed aside the views of Makalo and Menchaca.
Though at the time of the events I was at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport catching my connecting flight home, I stood in full solidarity with the protest and, as a student of color myself, resonated with the premise that our viewpoints have been ignored for too long and been seen as instigating race discomfort on a campus that is believed to be “free of problems.”
Thus when the backlash to last week’s editorial came flooding my newsfeed on Facebook, I was taken aback not by the number of posts critiquing the content of the editorial, but the Index itself as an institution. Accusations such as “yellow journalism” and “withholding a white supremacist institution” where thrown around. I was shocked and confused as to why the Index itself was criticized for running the editorial of a student on campus.
Yes, there are and will be times when the Index will publish an editorial that goes against popular opinion or is controversial in nature. But that doesn’t mean the Index itself endorses or holds the belief of such editorials. In fact, as a student-run (but not funded), organization by StuComm, we have no ties, preferences, or political leanings. The Index exists, and has existed, for more than a hundred years – to inform the student body of issues around campus and provide a platform for students to voice their opinions. The Index is composed of ten editorial staff members who come from many walks of life, and thus, does not have a single view or consensus on issues affecting campus.
Throwing criticisms at the Index itself is just misdirecting rage and frustration at the wrong institution. It channels anger at an institution that can greatly benefit these causes and movements on campus if utilized correctly through actions like writing letters to the editor and raising awareness of issues on campus by reporting on them rather than letting them fall silent.