The University of Maryland’s student newspaper is apologizing for personal injuries it recently caused.
As described, an article’s abnormalities were “inexcusable.”
On Friday, The Diamondback made such known via an end-of-story correction.
Meghana Kotraiah had been elected as speaker for the Student Government Association.
But then tragedy struck: Diamondback contributor Ryan White mangled her moniker.
In fact, he confused Meghana Kotraiah’s name with that of Madhulika Nallani.
To be fair, the point of the piece wasn’t a change in the SGA. Rather, it concerned funding for a new community center.
Nonetheless, Ryan radically dropped the ball on accurately identifying Meghana.
The Diamondback attempted damage control with an addendum:
Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story misstated that Madhulika Nallani was elected as new speaker for the SGA. Meghana Kotraiah was elected as new speaker for the SGA. This story has been updated.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough.
Hence, the paper released a statement on a separate webpage.
Words weren’t minced — Ryan’s wrongdoing was wretched.
“In its initial publication,” the release relayed, “the story misstated that Madhulika Nallani was elected as new speaker for the SGA when in fact Meghana Kotraiah was elected as the SGA’s new speaker.”
Per the paper, this had wreaked great and grievous havoc.
Oddly, it had hurt everyone except whites:
We recognize how harmful this misidentification was to people of color. We apologize for this offensive, unacceptable error and the hurt we’ve inflicted.
“The expectation,” the post continued, “is to get our reporting right the first time — this story failed to do so.”
Not only that, but the error was especially evil — it erased people possessing perimetriums and ancestors from a particular part of the planet:
It did not meet basic journalistic standards and invalidated the accomplishments of two women of South Asian descent.
In times past, a prevailing thought may have been that if you’re deeply wounded by someone you don’t know blowing the name of someone you don’t know, then something is wrong with you.
Our improved perspective: There’s something wrong with the writer, and that something is racism.
At least, such appears to be the implication.
I’m not sure what else could be derived from the following:
We plan to implement implicit bias training to prevent further errors like this.
For those disturbed by the author’s dastardly diss, take heart: They fired Ryan.
The Diamondback has terminated the employment of the reporter involved. Ryan White no longer represents The Diamondback.
That’s one less White at the paper.
If such circumstances correctly point to prejudice, we’ve seen similar incidents of racism before:
The President of the United States even mistook baseball great Satchel Paige for someone named Thegrate Neegroatthetime:
Back to the University of Maryland, none of the editors were let go. They merely “must…do better.”
Their only crime was one of trust:
Our editors must also do better. Before publication, five editors, including the editor in chief, edited the story. We decided to trust the reporter rather than independently confirm the names and positions of these two women — a mistake that was preventable.
It’s pulverized the paper:
We…recognize how this has caused many of our own staff to reconsider their place within our newspaper.
More mea culpa to all non-Caucasians:
To them, we apologize for continuing a standard that has harmed and alienated students of color for years. We appreciate all of the time and hard work you have already given to us, and we will work hard to ensure we are deserving of it in the future.
Despite firing only Ryan, The Diamondback’s Powers That Be promise to “continue to hold [them]selves accountable.”
“We need to do better,” the outlet admits.
Hopefully, it will.
But what if Ryan simply made a mistake?
These days, it appears, intent is irrelevant.
Pittsburgh’s Point Park University, for instance, has threatened discipline for misgendering and pronoun pratfalls.
“[W]e must recognize that regardless of the intent…action could be taken if a complaint is filed,” its guidelines explain.
So in our enlightened era, be on your P’s and Q’s — or those two letters might stand for “Pink-Slipped Quickly.”
Onward and upward.
****FOR THE FACT CHECKERS**** The above reference to Joe Biden’s speech is inaccurate. He, in fact, called Satchel Paige “the great negro at the time.”
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