By Tyree Brown
The Red & Black is praised as a very well-constructed student driven organization, however based on a glance, it lacks what many of the other clubs and extracurricular activities on campus strive for… Diversity.
The current Red & Black staff is approximately 98% Caucasian students, 60% of which are females. With these demographics, it is clear that many other races, cultures, and ethnicities would have a hard time fitting in with the organization.
“I can only give jobs to those that apply,” Editor-in-Chief Nick Suss said.
With a university that is 70% predominately white, is it clear that every club will not be as diverse as intended. However, editors at the Red & Black firmly believes that diversity is needed in something such as a student ran newspaper.
A newspaper outlet isn’t a job that you can specifically recruit for because many students must have an interest for this field.
It seems hard to interest minority student writers when you walk into the doors of the Red & Black and are confronted by a room full of mostly caucasian students.
This definitely creates a sense of discomfort and loneliness for minorities that have to walk into that type of newsroom.
“When every editor I have worked for and every sports editor I have worked under has been white, it makes it difficult for sure,” Suss said. “And it’s clearly an unintentional problem.”
However even though the Red & Black faces a lack of diversity among its staff, the Red & Black believes it covers diverse topics in every issue.
“It’s important to have a staff that has a special eye or interest for the many types of people and activities on campus.” Variety editor Dillon Thompson said.
For a topic like Variety, it is important that a wide span of topics are discussed and reported on in order the reach multiple demographics, rather than focusing on the majority here at The University of Georgia.
This same diversity is expected of the news portion of the paper.
“This is something I’ve been focusing on since being at the Red & Black.” News editor Lauren McDonald said.
Looking at past news stories, it is evident that the paper has covered both events and occurrences involving diversity and social issues.
This year’s cultural articles included stories about the racial stance against the University of Missouri and more recently two opposing opinion pieces on Beyoncé’s Superbowl 50 halftime performance.
In one opinion piece written by Red & Black writer Matthew Kopf, he disagreed with Beyonce’s idea to bring a political statement to a platform such as the NFL Superbowl.
The controversial opinion piece brought up a flurry comments via social media against the particular article. Statements such as “a movement without substance” referring to the Black Lives Matter movement angered many.
While the article created an array of disapproving replies, the sports editor of the Red & Black believes in the Kopf’s freedom of speech. He claims the views of the article do not reflect the views of the Red & Black, but the writer cannot be censored because of an opinion.
“I understand the backlash that was raised by the opinion articles on the Superbowl halftime show,” said sports editor Jordan Hill. “The problem I find is while what was said was questionable to say the least, he had every right to share his opinion.”
While the Red & Black intends to be inclusive and sensitive to its viewers, the organization still embraces the freedom of speech and with that the right of a journalist.
As one of a handful (if not the only) African American within Red & Black, it easy to see how articles such as these can be written.
I enjoy my position at the organization but it is troubling and at times uncomforting to be in a place where you are one of a kind, let alone in an organization where people have this view against your own people.
In the end, platforms such as The Red & Black are made to bring experience to young writers such as myself. As much as I would like for the Red & Black to be more diverse, I cannot deny the education and experience that has come with the job.
I hope that one day not only the Red & Black becomes more inclusive, but the University of Georgia as a whole.