Columnist whose op-ed said white people’s ‘DNA is an abomination’ gets permanent dose of discipline

Columnist whose op-ed said white people’s ‘DNA is an abomination’ gets permanent dose of discipline
A college op-ed writer whose column said white people's "DNA is an abomination" has been banned by the student newspaper at Texas State University after his piece made headlines beyond the Lone Star State. (Image source: WFAA-TV video screenshot)

A college op-ed writer who wrote a column saying white people’s “DNA is an abomination” has been banned by the student newspaper at Texas State University in San Marcos after his piece made headlines far beyond the Lone Star State.

“We screwed up,” the paper’s editorial board said in a Thursday note, adding that the “author of this column has jeopardized the atmosphere of inclusivity at this university and will no longer be published in The University Star.

Image source: WFAA-TV video screenshot
Image source: WFAA-TV video screenshot

What does the column say?

  • The column by Rudy Martinez — published in the paper’s Tuesday print edition but not on its website — blasts white people and says “the oppressive world you have built, through the exploitation of millions and the waging of barbaric wars against one another, is coming apart at the seams.”
  • Martinez calls Republican President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” and adds that white people are “an aberration.”
  • “Whiteness will be over because we want it to be,” Martinez writes. “And when it dies, there will be millions of cultural zombies aimlessly wandering across a vastly changed landscape.”
  • After saying “white death will mean liberation for all,” Martinez concludes his piece by declaring, “I hate you because you shouldn’t exist. You are both the dominant apparatus on the planet and the void in which all other cultures, upon meeting you, die.”
Image source: Twitter
Image source: Twitter

What has been the reaction toward the newspaper?

  • The Star’s editorial board said the paper has “received hate mail and numerous death threats. Additionally, there have been calls for several members of The University Star to resign with individuals threatening to defund the student publication if demands are not met.”
  • Indeed, Student Body President Connor Clegg stated Wednesday that Martinez — along with the opinions editor and editor-in-chief — should resign for allowing “divisive, racist material to stain the reputation of this great university.”
  • “The University Star has proven through this racist article that they no longer align with our core values as a university,” Clegg added. “It is imperative that we take necessary measure to ensure that tuition dollars do not go to fund this behavior.”

What else did the newspaper say?

  • A Tuesday note from editor-in-chief Denise Cervantes apologized for the column, saying the staff understands it “could have been clearer in its message and that it has caused hurt within our campus community.”
  • But Thursday’s note from the board was more direct: “We fully acknowledge the repercussions of our actions in allowing for such an incendiary and divisive column to make it into print. We were unequivocally wrong in printing it. It was neither constructive nor appropriate. We failed our readership and damaged Texas State’s profound tradition of inclusivity.”

What does a media ethicist say about the decision to run the column?

  • “I think we have a responsibility when we publish or air something that is as controversial as that is, there better be a really good reason for it … and you better explain what that reason is,” Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at Poynter and a media ethicist, told WFAA-TV.
  • “I’m all for free speech, I’m all for free press, but I’m also for accountability,” he added to the station. “If you have the freedom to publish this kind of op-ed, then you have the responsibility to explain why and to answer questions about the process, the decision making and so on.”