Blackface Controversy: A Letter to the Editor, and Our Response

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Okay, it was actually a comment on this article, but nobody actually emails us letters to the editor, so I’ll just treat it as such. If anyone wants to send us an actual letter, feel free to email editor@binghamtonreview.com

Victoria Brown

November 16, 2013 at 10:44 am

If anyone actually took the Binghamton Review seriously, it might be worth a few flips through previous articles that the BR has published in the past. One would find how immature and thoughtless it handles issues on a monthly basis. Go ahead, BR, weigh in. No one expects anything remotely reflexive or intelligent from your pages. The Heritage Foundation-sponsored Binghamton Review is a sheer and utter waste of time and has no place even remotely broaching issues of race (or class, or gender for that matter). Stick to your usual misrepresentation and falsehoods. Only by misrepresenting this important event, its content, and purpose can you find a way to report on this in your usual tone that represents in fact, very few voices on campus. Money from the conservative hacks at the Heritage Foundation has bought its way into Binghamton campus, a creative attempt to normalize bigotry. It is a good thing that no one reads it except for a good laugh at the desperate attempts of conservative thinking to opine on issues of inequality today.

Our (My) Response:

Dearest Victoria,

I wasn’t aware that we got money from the Heritage Foundation, but if you insist that we do, I suppose I’ll have to take your word for it, even though I doubt you’ve had access to our financial documents. I thought everyone had a right to express their views on race, class, and gender, but once again, if you insist that only silly lefties can express their views on these matters, we’ll promptly shut up.

On a serious note, Victoria, regrettably not only is your comment factually challenged, but it consists exclusively of infantile ad hominem attacks, and doesn’t even suggest any ways to improve ourselves. I sure hope it made you feel better though, I can just imagine you huffing and puffing at the end of it. Other comments critical of us were actually helpful. In particular, my own piece about this incident was criticized for resembling a “bar rant” and being over the top. While in many ways this is what my writing style is like and many people find it hilarious and highly readable, I do see their point, seeing as how this is a serious issue.

Furthermore, reading the other comments, it is indeed troubling to hear that Pipe Dream would have been willing to publish a Holocaust denial article, but since they have expressed regret for publishing this obviously far less offensive article, I doubt they would publish anything of such moral atrociousness.

To put our own view about the protest in a more sober, and more concise way:

1. The original article was insensitive and incorrect; it is in fact not okay to dress up in black face, or even in make up to make your skin darker. The comparison to Oompa Loompas was particularly in bad taste.I have had internal disagreements with my staff about this, but in the end I am the one who sets the editorial policy of the Review.

2. Pipe Dream, seeing how it bills itself as the voice for all students, should not have published it. The Review explicitly defines itself as providing an alternative voice to the mainstream of political correctness, so in theory we have more leeway with publishing controversial opinions, but I still would certainly not have published that article.

3. The protests were conducted in a manner that, while protected by the First Amendment, had a chilling effect on free speech. Now Pipe Dream will be far more afraid to publish controversial articles, even if they are well argued, in fear of another such protest. In addition to this, the behavior towards Christina, based on what I hear from first hand sources, was rather boorish and disgraceful.

4. Perhaps the words “groveling” and “pathetic” were a bit strong, but Pipe Dream’s multiple apologies (an- editorial, a Letter from the Editor, an apology from Julianne, and yet another from the author of the chivalry article) were too pleading in their tone and gave way too much in to the protesters.

Daniel Milyavsky

Editor-In-Chief

Binghamton Review

3 thoughts on “Blackface Controversy: A Letter to the Editor, and Our Response

  1. In the first article “Why This Wasn’t Martin Luther King’s protest” you condemned almost all the protesters for “humiliating” the editor-in-chief of Pipe Dream, Christina Pullano. In fact, you said, “the worst comments were the ones directed at her personally, saying the article was “poorly written” and “sucked anyway”.

    My question is, how is your treatment of Victoria Brown’s letter to the editor any different than what you’re condemning these protestors for doing? The response is riddled with language like, “Dearest Victoria”; “I sure hope it made you feel better though, I can just imagine you huffing and puffing at the end of it”; and “silly lefties”.

    This patronizing language does nothing but target Victoria as a person, instead of a contributor, in an inflammatory, rather juvenile way. Now tell me, why is it okay for you to humiliate someone in the face of justice, or righting these wrongs done to Pullano, but the same actions allegedly taken by the protestors are your main source of dissension for the rally?

    1. I did not write the article you’re referring to – check the by-line. I was pretty tough on Pipe Dream myself, calling their apology “groveling” and “pathetic” in the article that I did write.

      Victoria criticized the Binghamton Review, so I think it’s quite acceptable for me to criticize her back. The Review has a hallowed tradition of well-deserved ad-hominem attacks.

      But still, there’s a difference between me making fun of Victoria’s inflammatory content, and the protesters shouting in Christina’s face for an article she didn’t write. However, I wasn’t even there. Someone has suggested that there’s video footage of the event; I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing it.

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