Our View: Change comes from within

Our+View%3A+Change+comes+from+within

Last year, The Crimson White celebrated 125 years. In only two of those years has The Crimson White had a Black editor-in-chief. 

We have called out administrative silence, but we have also legitimized it. We have raged against the Machine, but we have also excused it. Throughout those 125 years, we have centered white students and white stories. 

We are not enemies of the people. But we are not always heroes either. It’s long past time that we look inward and make sustainable changes to the way we do news. 

At The Crimson White, we pledge to embrace an ethics of care. We have made a conscious effort to add diverse Black voices to our editorial board, as we strongly believe that Black people should be at the forefront of telling their own stories. As a result, we will continue to make concerted efforts to amplify the achievements of Black students and employees on campus. We are committed to rejecting anti-Blackness, recruiting and retaining a diverse staff and sincerely engaging with Black readers while keeping anti-racism at the forefront of our journalistic mission.

We are making changes to our editorial structure, style guide and handbook to better reflect these commitments. We understand that passive voice excuses the would-be subject of a sentence. We are not here to normalize the dangerous actions of our local police or any other oppressive institutions. We are here to question and critique them in hopes of paving a way forward.

We recognize that journalists must serve their readers and, above all, hold those in power accountable. We will work harder to equip our reporters with the tools to investigate racial injustices – not just in times of crisis, but each and every day. Out of respect for our community and their rights to privacy, we will prioritize asking for consent to photograph those in harm’s way. We observe not surveil. We will not seek to convict with our cameras.

As we address changes that we must make inside the newsroom, it becomes abundantly clear that we are not the only campus establishment that must change. Guest columnist, Caroline Game, articulates well the shortcomings of President Stuart Bell’s statement to the University’s community in her recent column. But it would not be enough for Bell to say that Black lives matter – he must take action to support the Black community on our campus. 

We vow to change within, and we expect the same of our university: 

(1) Permanently remove white supremacist symbols on campus. In the past, conversations about removing Confederate monuments and renaming buildings named for eugenicists, slave owners and Ku Klux Klan members have been slow to spark administrative action. We will not let this moment of reckoning go unanswered again. A petition with over 3,000 signatures prompting the removal of Confederate monuments on campus is currently making its way across multiple social media platforms. This petition is complemented by one with nearly 17,000 signatures demanding the renaming of campus buildings that celebrate the history of racism at this university. We join our fellow students and faculty in urging the UA System to stop honoring white supremacy on our campus.

(2) Hire more diverse-thinking Black administrators. The administrative silence surrounding the resignation of Dr. Jamie Riley highlighted what we have known for far too long: We need more Black leadership. It is important to note that merely placing Black individuals of one thinking pattern (political views, religious views, sexuality, ability status, etc.) in certain roles will not suffice. The Black community at the University deserves to have a variety of leaders, just as the white community does.

(3) Increase support for all Black organizations on campus. The Black experience is not monolithic. Black organizations deserve to be actively promoted and funded by the administration, as this kind of support is a direct investment in the futures of Black students on campus.

These are the actions that show Black lives matter at The University of Alabama, not a vague blanket statement that only exists because it has to. The Crimson White Editorial Board empathizes with you, acknowledges you and pushes for change with you. As we are taking the needed steps to better serve Black students, we urge our administration to do the same.

The Crimson White Editorial Board is composed of Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Griesbach, Managing Editor Leah Goggins, Engagement Editor Adaya Jackson, Chief Copy Editor Bhavana Ravala and Opinions Editor Mikayla Wyatt.