Student Paper Apologizes for ‘Racist’ Article About Native American Event
March 23, 2011
by Suada Kolovic
With racist rants at UCLA, degrading emails at USC and now insensitive journalism at Long Beach, we’re starting to wonder what’s in the water in the Golden State. Haterade, perhaps?
The Union Weekly, a student newspaper at California State University, Long Beach, is apologizing for running a negative critique of a Native American cultural event held on campus. In the article, entitled, “Pow Wow Wow Yippee Yo Yippy Yay,” campus editor Noah Kelly equated the annual cultural event hosted by the school’s American Indian Studies Program and American Indian Student Council with a “large, Native American themed flea market.” Kelly continued his rant by mocking the food and a traditional dance that involves some spectators throwing money to the performers, which he described as disingenuous and cheap. He went on to say, “Donations are great, and necessary, tossing them unceremoniously on the ground is crass and borderline obscene. Even the homeless have hats and cups.”
After a huge backlash – and even death threats – Kelly has published an apology where he explained, “What originally was meant as an unflattering view of the event itself has been construed by many as an assault on an entire culture. That was never my intention and I meant no malice towards Native Americans. What occurred was nothing less than a lapse in fact-finding, cultural awareness, and sensitivity on my part.” Do you think Kelly’s sincere when he says his piece was an attack on the event and not Native American culture?