Diamondback Opinion Piece on Race Sparks Controversy

“The falsified concept of ‘institutional racism'”

Those were the words that sparked a strong backlash from students on Twitter earlier this week.

In an opinion piece written on July 27th for the University of Maryland’s student newspaper, The Diamondback, a student writer named Kyle Campbell discussed his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement and our nation’s ongoing debate with race relations.

The story picked up steam on social media after it was shared on The Diamondback’s Twitter page on August 1st.

In his piece, Campbell wrote that while the BLM movement was justified, he didn’t understand “what they hope to achieve.” Campbell continued saying:

Rather, the movement, could cause more conflicts between African Americans and law enforcement, and ultimately, it could continue to do so because what the movement, from what I could tell, teaches young black children is that they should fear and fight the police and that every issue they ever face in their lives will be because of racism. And although I believe the intent of the movement is in good faith and justified, the results are counteractive.

But the part that irked critics of Campbell’s piece most involved a portion of the article in which he discussed institutional racism. Campbell says that it no longer exists due to the increase in African-American officers nationwide and the existence of an African-American president. He also said in his piece that racially discriminatory laws no longer exist.

A hashtag was started by students expressing their frustration with Campbell’s line of thinking – #DearKyle.

The Diamondback eventually issued a correction that was posted on their editor-in-chief’s Twitter page and the newspaper’s copy of the piece.

Black Student Union and the NAACP also received statements from the newspaper regarding the article.

In their statements, The Diamondback says that “controversial ideas have their place in sparking discourse and keeping our readers informed about the diverse opinions that make up the University of Maryland student body.” The newspaper separated themselves from the writer’s views saying they solely reflect the views of the writer himself. The newspaper also admitted that portions of the article were not factually accurate.

Former Pulsefeedz writer Maya Dawit and co-author Azsanee Truss responded to Campbell’s piece in a personal blog that is picking up steam. The authors refuted Campbell’s claims that African-Americans were trying to start a “race war.” Dawit and Truss also say that while blatantly racist laws no longer exist, there are still tax and drugs laws that specifically target minorities.

As someone who isn’t affected by systemic racism in your day to day life, your ignorance is, at this point, almost to be expected. Your opinions and attitudes (sadly) aren’t the most alarming part of this situation. The surprising part is that you’ve been given a platform to spread them. As is the case with most, you don’t see systemic racism because you don’t want it to be there. You aren’t forced to face it for the vicious monster that is. But, to be frank, your willful ignorance isn’t going to make the problem go away, and it surely isn’t going to make anyone shut up. We’d recommend reading up on and trying to empathize with black issues before writing about them again.

Campbell has not publicly responded to the reaction his opinion piece is receiving.

DISCLOSURE: Lauryn Froneberger serves as the editor-in-chief of Pulsefeedz along with Breana Bacon. Froneberger is also the president of the NAACP. The NAACP and Froneberger did not influence the article’s contents in any way, shape or form.