So I, a token minority of yesteryear, leave the Daily and it gets boycotted. It forgot to replace the graduated minos with some more melanin, to pass off the glorious chess board appearance that has allowed the Daily to continue its subversive David Duke agenda for 112 years. Silly editors!

It appears that some people have noticed the editors’ fatal mistake and decided to roll up their sleeves and boycott a free newspaper. The genius guiding minority students these days is overwhelming, to say the least. I’m almost certain Pizza House will stop advertising because of the boycott – especially when plenty of non-white faces keep showing up for some Southwestern BBQ, hold the onions. I’m also almost certain that the Michigan Student Assembly’s support of the boycott (surprise: MSA reps have their own grudge against the Daily, which calls them out on their pretentia on a fairly regular basis) will add loads of credibility to this enterprise.

I was an associate editor of the Editorial Page, which slightly confounds the notion that minorities don’t hold leadership positions at the Daily. As for the insensitivity toward minorities that have made their way into print, I know that I have written more than a few columns calling out white people for their stupidity (and let’s face it, white people can be phenomenally stupid). But I’ve also written here and there about how escapist and downright pathetic we minorities can act, giving us the slimy, slightly bloodied appearance of new-born (cry)babies. And for that, I am a race traitor, which naturally made me a perfect candidate for the Daily’s very white and shiny message.

All joking aside, there are three major problems I see with the boycott. First and foremost, the demands for “minority staff development” is insulting to minorities in general and specifically insulting to every minority who has worked at the Daily. Suggesting that minorities need specific programs just to get somewhere at a college newspaper suggests that we really can’t figure out this reporting thing on our own. Are the minority groups who signed on to this boycott sincere in saying that minorities need to be “aggressively recruited” for a college paper? Do we really need one reporter stationed to every single minority group? The former suggests we are too dumb and/or lazy to walk through the door and the latter suggests that everything minorities do is newsworthy and/or (an even sillier suggestion) that minorities are incapable of being newsworthy based on the merits of their actions. The demands made by the boycotters make us all look like incredibly weak characters to be pitied because we can’t stand on our own two feet. I am too proud of my heritage and my uniqueness to supplicate myself to the majority; what saddens me most is seeing how quickly and easily other minorities are willing to trade in their pride.

The second problem here is that the boycott doesn’t seem to address the real push-pull between minorities and the Daily. I’m not naive (or blind) enough to suggest that my years at the Daily showed me a place fully bursting at the seams with diversity. On a statistical level, it’s true that the Daily tends to look an awful lot like an episode of “Leave it to Beaver” – a whole lot of white. But the tension between minorities and the Daily doesn’t hinge upon some sort of implicit or explicit racist agenda – it actually rests largely on the agendas of the minorities that enter the building. When a minority saunters into the Daily and wishes to cover the events of his or her specific community (which I have seen happen many a time), a serious conflict of interest issue is raised. I suspect that many of the spearheaders of this boycott are insulted not by “buckwheat,” but by the fact that the Daily had the audacity to critique some aspect of their groups’ activities.

Whatever flak the Daily gets on campus, it is still a highly regarded college paper and is looked at pretty seriously by national media outlets – and whatever pomposity is associated with that (I know that I took myself way too seriously when I worked there), the editors are at least somewhat justified in their desire to remain credible. I personally don’t blame the Daily – in fact, I applaud it – for guarding its reputation carefully.

Ultimately, what the boycott really serves to do (and this, though listed third in the trifectus of “Why the boycott is lame,” is really the important one, “the kicker,” if I may be so colloquial) is to divert people’s attention away from serious incidents of racism at the University and in society as a whole. Minority groups tend to splinter because we get into this “us vs. them” mentality, where even minor ethnic differences divide us (e.g. Puerto Rican vs. Dominican gang fights, North and South Indian antagonism, Chinese, Indonesian, Tibetan, etc. fragmentation) – and it is unfortunate to see University minorities coming together in such a rare show of support to attack something as non-sinister as the Daily. It would be one thing if some over-arching racial issues were simply non-existent, in which case perhaps these groups might get together to rumble with the Daily just for the sake of a good fight. But as there are real and pressing minority issues at the University and elsewhere this focus on a college newspaper is downright petty and wasteful. It’s like minorities have given up the fight when it comes to really sincere and important issues of racial misalignment, which further cements the natural conclusions that this boycott leads to: That we are weak and petty and demanding and unwilling to earn what we get and get what we earn.

Raiji is a University alumnus and former Daily associate editorial page editor.

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