On many occasions, I have been tempted to write rejoinders to some of your articles that personally touch me. I held back in these instances because I felt the omissions, half-truths and outright distortions are no "big deals" as far as my existence on the campus is concerned. However, I feel compelled at this point as an African, to draw your attention to and comment on Amy Fredette's "Ceremony stresses cultural unity" on the cover page of yesterday's edition of the Wildcat. Reading through Fredette's report, one cannot but notice its racist underpinnings in general and a degradation of Africans as a species of humanity.
While the author variously referred to each aggregate of the different shades of color of people that constitute the American society as "ethnic groups," "races" and "peoples," the label of "tribes" was stamped on Africans. Even though I will not want to use this platform to give a lecture on "colonialism," I must not fail to point out to the "40,000" readers of the Arizona Daily Wildcat that "tribe" is a colonial construct for defining the "other." The label as such carries with it many negative and perjorative nuances that will readily become clear to anybody familiar with world colonial history. That the author fully understands the differences between these terms is borne out in the very meticulous ways in which they were used in the article. It cannot therefore be denied that the author used the concept "tribe" in reference to Africans with the full weight of its unaffirmative connotations. It is therefore, more than clear that far from helping to create awareness for the "Ceremony that stresses cultural unity," Fredette is fanning the embers of disunity among peoples "from diverse backgrounds, races, and colors." Notwithstanding whatever goodwill the author may have for the "Sounding of the Drum" in particular, and the African-American History Month in general, I and other members of the African community on this campus find the article racist, discriminatory and in very bad taste. I will also suggest that the editorial staff of this paper pay more attention to the proper use of language so as not to carry the trash of the past into the present. What you may regard as minute may turn out to be like the case of "the child or uninitiate who calls the medicinal plant an edible vegetable" (a Yoruba adage).
Art History Graduate Student
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