Brown campus newspaper issues apology after racist columns

AP News
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Posted: Oct 07, 2015 4:43 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Brown University campus newspaper apologized Wednesday after publishing what it says were two "deeply hurtful" and racist columns.

The Brown Daily Herald's editorial board published an editor's note saying it regretted the hurt caused by the two opinion columns, both written by student M. Dzhali Maier.

One titled "The white privilege of cows," which was published Monday, "invoked the notion of biological differences between races," while "Columbian Exchange Day," published Tuesday, argued that Native Americans should be thankful for colonialism, according to the editor's note.

"The white privilege of cows" column was left on The Herald's website "in an effort to be transparent," according to an editor's note later added to it. The "Columbian Exchange Day" column was removed and replaced by an editor's note. That column was "unintentionally published due to an internal error," according to the note. It was online for about an hour before it was taken down.

"We understand that these columns contained racist content that has no place in our paper or community," the editor's note said.

"The white privilege of cows" column also did not meet the Herald's standards for writing and clarity, the note said. Several readers commented that the column was incorrect and incoherent.

"Thus, whenever I see a white college student, reeking of privilege, I recall the coincidence (or causal relationship) between white physical features and animal agriculture," Maier wrote. "It is still a question whether or not evolution endowed Eurasians with skills utilized to capitalize on the good luck of livestock animals."

The editor's note also acknowledged that The Herald is part of the history of Brown, which was "founded on inequality."

"Brown itself is built on land that belonged to the Narragansett and Wampanoag nations, and yet the university has no formal relationships with them," the note said.

On Sept. 15, the newspaper published Maier's column titled "Brown's oppressed minority" about the struggles that autistic students face at the Ivy League university.

Maier could not immediately be reached for comment.

Over the next three weeks, the newspaper will review the editorial processes that "allowed these mistakes to happen," the note said. This is not the first time The Herald has published racist material, according to the note, which did not elaborate.

Established in 1891, The Herald is a student-run, independent publication.

Members of the editorial board, including editors-in-chief Michael Dubin and Maxine Joselow, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.