Editorial: Today, we stand with the black community

by The Editorial Board

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On Feb. 27, we published our Black History issue. Three days later, on March 2, Rillo Moons was visiting San Diego State’s campus and happened to be recording a video while a group of people drove past the Black Resource Center shouting the racial slur known as the n-word.

Moons posted the video first on Instagram and later on Twitter. As of March 5, the tweet had more than 1,100 retweets and more than 1,700 likes, numbers that are only sure to grow as the news spreads.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but we’ll say it anyway: shouting a racial slur while driving past one of the only spaces on campus for a marginalized, minority community is simply disgusting.

The men in the car were reportedly from a mix of ethnic and racial backgrounds. If that’s true, they should know better. Even if it weren’t true, they should still know better; actually, we can say for a fact that they do. It’s 2019, not 1959.

We don’t know whether the men were SDSU students, and it’s possible we’ll never know — the video only caught their voices as they passed by. But if they were students, and if they ever are identified, this editorial board firmly believes they should face expulsion. Men with such abhorrent attitudes and such devastatingly poor judgment have no place on a college campus, or anywhere else.

We are appreciative of President Adela de la Torre’s quick response to the video. Her office sent an email condemning the slur incident to the campus community on March 4, not too long after we ourselves had found out about it.

“At SDSU, diversity and inclusion are core values we uphold, and the university is deeply committed to supporting a campus climate and environment that is welcoming and safe, no matter a person’s background or experience,” the email said. “We do not accept hate-driven acts.”

De la Torre later attended a community forum event the evening of March 5 to show solidarity with SDSU’s black community.

It was refreshing to see a campus leader taking bigotry on campus seriously. Her response was a far cry from former president Elliot Hirshman’s failure to condemn islamophobic fliers that identified some Muslim students as terrorists three years ago.

Even so, we’d like to see her and campus leaders do more. Her email said the university is organizing healing circles, and told students to contact the Black Resource Center to inquire about them. But let’s be honest: what are healing circles going to do? We want to see an effort made to change the culture on campus. And when people feel comfortable enough to shout the n-word at full volume while passing the Black Resource Center, there clearly needs to be some kind of culture change.

The average student on campus often knows little about who is on the staff of The Daily Aztec, if it even crosses their mind. It’s easy to understand why — to a reader who doesn’t know us, we appear to be nothing more than a couple dozen assorted bylines, with no context about our character or backgrounds.

If you don’t know us, we want you to know that almost two-thirds of our editors come from minority communities. Our opinion editor is black. All of our top editorial and advertising leadership are Latino. One of our editors is an international student. Multiple editors, including the editor in chief, are members of the LGBTQ community. The point is, we’re all in this together and we want our black brothers and sisters to know we hear them today, and we stand with them forever.

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