Sketch only fuels stereotypes


On Friday Oct. 14, there appeared an article in the Arizona Daily Wildcat that we found offensive. The article ("Student stabbed") was a report of a stabbing on the previous night. The accurateness and validity of the report is not the issue. The problem we find is in the accompanying sketch.

The sketch itself was not offensive, the fact that it appeared was. The report stated there were two suspects, yet there was only one sketch. The report had the same amount of evidence or descriptions for each of the suspects. One suspect was Hispanic, the other was African American. It was the sketch of the latter that appeared in the Wildcat. Whether or not this was a deliberate action or occurred by accident, once again, is not the point. The point is that the sketch should have never appeared in the first place, for any reason. If the author and/or editor felt the need to put it in the report, should not he/she have felt the need to accompany it with a sketch of the other suspect? Throughout the semester we have read many reports of far worse crimes than what boils down to a scratch and the loss of ten dollars committed by persons who are not African American, or any other so-called "minority." None of these forementioned reports were accompanied with a police sketch. It seems odd that now, under these circumstances, would be the first time.

This is another indicator of the poor racial climate that exists at the University of Arizona and in the community at large. It is sad that the Wildcat, a supposedly unbiased media source, has helped perpetuate this problem and the negative image of African Americans. This event in particular is not that serious in comparsion to other racial problems that we ALL face at the UA, yet small frustrations such as these build up over time and eventually cause a racial rift. A rift is the last thing that any of us need. There is already enough separation and tension on campus.

We, as a fraternity, are trying to eliminate these stereotypes and negative imagery and establish a fairness and equality in the media and the community. This goal starts with the overt acts of prejudice as well as the covert. Also, we wish to change negative mindsets that people who read the report might have. These ways of thinking, whether we realize it or not, often have the same effect as racism.

Many people who have never been subject to prejudice might ask: what is the big deal? The fact that question is even asked is another indicator of the problem. In order to answer that, one needs to imagine themself as a person who has to deal with bias and hate every day of their life. Couple that with the fact that the vast majority of students on campus are not of a "minority" (not to mention the overwhelming feeling of separation and isolation). If you honestly put yourself in those shoes, it is very hard to not see the anger felt after reading the report and the sketch. There is no animosity toward the Arizona Daily Wildcat or the author, we just want everyone to ask themself if the sketch was pertinent and what it represents.

We all need to remember that cultural diversity is great, but what good is it without fairness, equality and sensitivity?

The Brothers

of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity

Alpha Alpha Epsilon Chapter

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