At the Daily, we strive to ensure that what we publish in our paper is fair, accurate and upholds the values of the community we serve. One of the columns published in the Daily on April 17, “Surveying the rap scene,” failed to abide by our standards. The column, whether intentionally or not by the author, echoes historically racist tropes used to portray black people in its discussion of rap music. We thank the Tufts community and members of the Class of 2020 page for bringing this to our attention, and we’d also like to give space to several students who voiced their concerns with the article.
Some noted that the piece’s flippant attitude regarding lyrics on drug use reflected a lack of knowledge behind the article. “It’s ignorant to dismiss an entire style of rap by calling the artists “lazy” or dismissing their lyrical content due to drug references,” senior Jason Mejia said. “She neglects the fact that drug use and abuse has been prevalent in hip-hop, and many of these artists are speaking about their experience with drugs in their lives.”
Others agreed. On a thread discussing the article in the Class of 2020 page, junior Caila Bowen commented: “Please refrain from writing articles on cultures without doing P R O P E R research.”
And ultimately, discussion around this article became one of the countless instances in which people of color are constantly expected to educate others.
Sophomore Sylvester Bracey put it best: “I find it problematic that the pressure was put on Black people to point out what was problematic here, rather than people looking to see where they’d messed up. It is not the job of the oppressed to educate. There are ample resources out there, free ones, that one can use to inform themselves and prevent instances like this.”
We are working on revising our columnist policy, which currently gives broad leeway to columnists and only allows edits for grammar and fact-checking, to ensure that similar incidents do not happen again. We deeply apologize to the Tufts community, especially the black community, for its publication. We are removing the article, and we will not be publishing any more content from the author aside from the following apology:
I would like to formally apologize to the black students of the Tufts community for a column I wrote on Tuesday. Writing in a newspaper is a responsibility, and I have had the privilege to do so for three semesters. However, in my writing recently, I have not always devoted enough time to researching my topics and have sometimes tried to write about pieces that I have limited knowledge on. This isn’t an excuse, and as a senior I am disappointed in myself for not putting more thought into my writing. I should have acted and written differently, and I’m extremely sorry to everyone who was offended by my writing. I want to thank you for all of your criticism and honest opinions. It has offered me a chance to reflect and reconsider how I can better communicate going forward.
Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to better reflect the opinions of the Tufts Community.