Until the writers shape up, this ‘Forum’ doesn’t deserve its name

I feel it necessary to applaud The BG News for representing a demographic of people who are usually underrepresented in classroom discussion. These people often have valid points to make, but often, they do not feel that they are able to discuss these points openly in a classroom.

I think it is wonderful that people who haven’t done their homework, such as Brian Kutzley and Jason Snead, can find their voice in this University’s newspaper. In an ethics class I am currently taking, I learned that to make a valid point, the conclusion should follow the premises. Whether or not the premises are true is an unrelated issue.

For example, Kutzley’s point about ethnic studies [“A real debate, it is not,” Sept. 11]: we shouldn’t ever single people out based on their race, and when we study the histories of various ethnic groups, we do just that. We single out African Americans when we study Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, and we target Native Americans when we speak of the unjust treatment they received when they were evicted from their lands and put on reservations. That little adage about “not studying history forces us to repeat it” is just nonsense.

Jason Snead’s column is another shining example of the unaware finally being heard. If the government has never explicitly abused or used its power to target political groups, then we have no real need to fear that it will begin to do so now [“They might be watching you, but that’s not such a bad thing,” Sept. 12]. I feel that it is a shining example of logic. If it weren’t for the congressional hearings lead by Joseph McCarthy, Watergate, or more recently, the March 9 finding by the Justice department that the FBI had been abusing its powers of surveillance, then we would have no reason to oppose giving such powers to the government.

Satire aside, I strongly feel that The BG News should have higher standards for its publishing. The Forum section of the news should be a place for people to be heard, but when the newspaper publishes columns that are clearly ignorant of history, or allows pieces which make attacks against groups of people, it reflects poorly upon this institution.

It is true, Mr. Kutzley, that there are professors who allow their own beliefs to enter into their lessons, and they should try to avoid that. However, women, gays and lesbians, people of color, and even some whites have been repressed in history, and we don’t study that in class. As a result, almost, if not all Republican presidential candidates support dismissing valuable members of our military because of their sexual orientation, which FYI, the American Psychological Association says is not a choice. Mr. Snead, you make good points for your case, but you need to be aware of our government’s history.

And to the rest of the community, please do your research.

Ben Swanson is a junior majoring in computer science. Send responses to his column to [email protected]