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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Mailbag: April 8

Humor, attitude can undermine progress

I am writing you about the spoof article the Daily Wildcat wrote on April Fools’ Day about Pride Alliance entitled “”Fabulous Takeover.”” I was disappointed to see this in the paper because the UA has done a lot of work to create an environment that is inclusive of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This article was not in line with our institutional commitment to inclusivity.

Since the article was published, I have received many emails from students and members of our community expressing their frustration with the article and the Daily Wildcat. I have been asked why our school paper would run an article like this, given the prevalence of bullying and attacks on the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good explanation. We live in a day and age where LGBTQ people are still discriminated against on a regular basis and the accumulation of that takes a toll on all of us. It is particularly painful when stereotyping is directed at us from members of our own institution, and in a way that is incongruent with the values of our institution. I am afraid that this article may give members of our own community the impression that it is OK to make fun of gay people and that our school paper even endorses it.    

I suspect that this was an issue of intent versus impact. Sometimes the best of intentions still have a detrimental impact. I want to encourage the editors to consider the impact an article like this has on a community of people, people who contribute a lot of time and energy into making this campus the kind of environment where all people feel welcome. So while the intentions may have been to just be funny, unfortunately, the impact has been that some people within the LGBTQ community feel that this article perpetuates an environment where it’s acceptable to belittle and trivialize gay people. I am writing to say that it is unacceptable to me and to encourage you to think more about the impact of your spoof articles in the future.

 — Jennifer Hoefle, Program director for LGBTQ Affairs

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