Hateful language does not result in productive dialogue

Last week, the Old Gold & Black published an opinion piece regarding abortion. While some of the student body agree with the views reflected in this piece, many do not.

Many of those students who disagreed with the piece have expressed their views on social media platforms including, but not limited to Facebook and Twitter.

As the Opinion Editor, I am excited and happy that many students picked up the OGB last week and are willing to express their thoughts on an article. We strive for dialogue and interaction between the students, writers and the OGB.

However, many of the comments that students shared targeted the editorial staff and the OGB as a publication because we allowed this piece to be published.

I welcome students to share their views on opinion pieces and encourage open dialogue in response, but my job as the opinion editor is not to censor my writers.

As an independent publication, it is our job to publish pieces that students submit. While many found the piece offensive, some students did actually agree with it. The OGB is a student newspaper — it is supposed to share the views of the student writers in a way that all students and the Wake Forest community can read.

I want to reiterate that all pieces published in the opinion section do not reflect the views of the OGB editors and the publication as a whole.

I am not saying that we agree or disagree with the piece, but we do not have a collective view on it. Just because something is published does not mean the editorial staff as a whole endorses it. We are simply giving the writer a platform to voice his or her own view.

At the OGB, we value all student submissions and will not censor pieces just because they are controversial.

If we were to censor the newspaper — if Wake Forest were to censor our education — we would be limited in our knowledge and understanding of important issues.

Censorship does not allow for a difference of opinion. Censorship does not abide by the first amendment: freedom of speech. Censorship is not something that the OGB values. As a student publication we encourage students to write and share their views.

For those who have issue with pieces and want to express their views with the Wake Forest community, I encourage and hope that you submit a letter to the editor or a column.

We want to reflect the views of all students regardless if we agree with the piece or not.

My view is that the section can spark meaningful dialogue in response to pieces in a safe and productive manner.

Language that incites hate is not productive to opening conversations about controversial topics.

I welcome and encourage all thoughts on the content of articles but not the use of hateful and derogatory language towards the writer.

As a publication and as a student body, there is a way to have dialogue and disagreements while not being disrespectful.

  • Michael McLamb

    I thank you for not taking the article down. I think a lot of college newspapers given the same circumstances might have removed it. But you all didn’t and I immensely respect that.