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Candidate column hurt community as a whole

February 20, 2005|by Tamara Doleman

The words that were printed in Bob Maginnis' column "Black candidates have an uphill battle" have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many readers. Not only was the article offensive to many members of the black community, they were also offensive to many others as well.

These words were not edifying, to say the least, and only served to make people scratch their heads and question why? Why did The Herald-Mail allow this article to be published? What purpose does this article serve? And who does this form of reckless journalism really hurt?

These are just a few questions that have been asked of me and, because I have taken on the duties of representing my community, I must rise and allow your voices to be heard regarding this matter.

We can't begin to explain why The Herald-Mail allowed this article to be published. So we will not try to place blame, but we will agree that it is the newspaper's responsibility to make certain that some forms of posturing are not allowed. And yes, we agree that it is the newspaper that should be held accountable for its reporters and what is printed.

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As to the purpose of that column, one can only see its effects and, as it stands, this column has had the ability to expose a man's thoughts. No matter how ugly they may seem to us, this is what he believes. One conclusion that can be drawn from his words is that some of us still have a long way to go in the realm of sensitivity to difference. Yes, his words were insensitive and yes, he should be held accountable for them.

Who does this column hurt? It hurts all of us "people of good will." Those like you and I who choose to not see a person as a color, but rather treat a person as we wish to be treated.

The voices from the neighborhood are resounding. Our people want resolution to the ongoing issue of poor practices, on the part of The Herald-Mail, when it comes to writing about the Jonathan Street community and African- Americans in general. (This is not to say that this kind of poor reporting doesn't happen to everyone, but it is to say that it seems to be the norm for the Jonathan Street community.)

Do not allow it be said that we have not enjoyed some of our coverage. Especially, those pieces that have praised our contributions. But the investigative and information-gathering process leaves a lot to be desired. Most evident in this case is that all Maginnis had to do was pick up the phone and ask Alesia Parson a simple question. Had he done so then maybe this article would have taken on a completely different tone.

Please do not involve us in your attempts to "get LeRoy Guillory."




Tamara Doleman is a Daily Mail correspondent.

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