Marianas Variety Guam Edition – The Local and Regional Newspaper

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Back Letter to the Editor Hate speech sanctioned?

Hate speech sanctioned?

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AS A Chamoru in the diaspora, one of the ways I stay connected to Guahan is by reading the online version of the Marianas Variety-Guam Edition.

Recently, I have felt deep concern about how the words of Dave Davis and Ron McNinch have created an atmosphere of violence and confusion. This atmosphere threatens the safety of those who are trying to educate our people about the difficult and necessary process of decolonization.

How do you justify this? In "Editorial policy redux" (10.25.2011), the editor states: "What we continuously strive for with our paper is to be fair and balanced about our news and the opinions that we publish. We have Republican columnists as well as Democrats. We have proponents of decolonization as well as opponents."

"Fair and balanced" are fine qualities to strive for. However, publishing writers who oppose decolonization and support colonization betrays those qualities.

People who support colonization are as dangerous to humanity as people who support racism, slavery, poverty, genocide, gender discrimination, homophobia, and other hatreds. Writing which supports colonization is "colonial speech." Colonial speech is hate speech.

The editors actually believe hate speech is good for us: "Each of our columnists has their opinions on a wide spectrum of issues, and the more viewpoints we receive, the better it is for our readers."

How is reading a column that opposes decolonization better for readers, especially when many of your readers are the people being colonized? When I read the colonial speech in your newspaper, I don't feel better for it; in fact, I feel disempowered, demeaned, and disrespected.

Do you know what being colonized feels like?

You seem to show very little understanding when you write: "We recognize that some of you will disagree with what some of our columnists write. We hope you will find something in other columns with which you can agree. We don’t expect you to agree with everything we publish.

You should also not expect your community newspaper to only publish ideas with which you agree."

While I don't expect our community newspaper to only publish ideas I agree with, I do expect our community newspaper to always reject hate speech.

Listen, we can no longer view colonization as an opinion or an idea to be agreed or disagreed with. Colonization is hate. Clearly, your editorial policy is unfair towards colonized peoples and perpetuates the imbalance of power between Guahan and the United States of America.

If you want to become a community newspaper (as opposed to a colonial newspaper), then you must stop publishing the hate that threatens our community, and you must use the power of your media to help end the colonization of our community.

Craig Santos Perez,
Poet & Professor
Honolulu, Hawai'i

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