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Volume 90, Issue 88

Wednesday, March 12, 1997



Black History - more apologies?

Re: Protest ends in discussion, Feb. 12

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to express my displeasure with respect to some of the statements made during and after the Feb. 11 protest concerning the Feb. 4 multicultural issue by The Gazette.

By my best estimate, approximately 1.5 per cent of Western's population decided to protest The Gazette's editorial board decision to run a multicultural (diversity) issue instead of a Black History Month insert. While I am not attempting to limit an individual's rights of freedom of expression and speech, or to diminish the significance of Black History Month, I honestly feel that certain individuals had clearly overstepped the boundaries of what is or isn't discrimination.

According to Julie Young-Marcellin, president of the Black Students' Association, the protest was initiated to show the BSA's disapproval of The Gazette's decision and the fact that a group of students had been silenced. However, when I spoke to Natalie Henry, features editor of The Gazette, I found that she had contacted the BSA to ask them to submit articles for the issue in question, but they declined to do so because they wanted their own Black History Month issue. To me, The Gazette staff didn't silence the students, the students chose to silence themselves, thereby contradicting themselves.

The Gazette staff apologized for their error(s) in judgment with regards to the timing of the release of the multicultural issue, but I feel two students owe an apology as well.

First, Ms. Young-Marcellin for her statement, "The Gazette tends to attract black people who aren't representative of the black community." I am not sure exactly what this means, but it certainly sounds like a slap on the face towards all black students who work, or have worked with The Gazette, especially Ms. Henry.

And Yakeem Abdool-Ghany for calling The Gazette editor-in-chief, Jason Ménard, among other words (which I won't mention), ignorant in the UCC atrium after the protest was over. I don't know the reasoning behind Mr. Abdool-Ghany's outburst, but I do know that his statement was quite inappropriate when speaking about a senior member of any newspaper.

The only solution to such a sensitive issue as this one is to replace Black History Month with a Multicultural Month, if it doesn't already officially exist in Canada. Although this may offend some Canadians, it would allow them the chance to learn about and celebrate the histories, cultures and accomplishments of all ethnic groups. Also, it would be more indicative of the Canadian population as a whole.

Earl Criece
Electrical Engineering III

To Contact The Letters Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997