The Jambar received a mountain of feedback on our theme issue, “Black at YSU.” Jambar staff members have poured over the comments, emails, yaks and tweets to gain some perspective on our readers’ thoughts.
As the issue was meant to contribute to the ever-evolving conversation on race in America, we’re happy readers are engaging with the content. Even those who disagree with our decision to run the stories.
Most of the feedback we received was positive. Many students wrote in saying they were happy we wrote about issues they face everyday.
One email highlighted the reader’s struggle to maintain their identity as a black individual, while living and going to school at a predominately white institution.
“I’ve noticed a lot of black people, including myself, try to maintain their identity living in the white space. Being black in life is a challenge, but you have to learn to adapt,” the email said.
Another email identified with feeling left out and excluded in the classroom, stating that the writer experienced situations similar to those Sidney Watkins, who was quoted in the story, faced at Youngstown State University.
“Sidney talked about how he felt very unwelcome being at YSU, and a lack of confidence from a meeting he had with a professor in his major department of engineering. I can agree with Watkins response, because some of my friends (who are African-Americans) and I have personally went through a similar issue,” the email said. “At the beginning of our start of YSU, we have received many hints that professors or other students not really seeing academic potential in any of us.”
Some emails and comments we received argued that in college, success depends on the student, dismissing the environment.
“If you want something bad enough, like to graduate, you’ll make it happen. Just study like everyone else. I don’t hear the black athletes complaining, and half the football team majors in general studies,” one email said. “Get involved on campus within your major, such as engineering society clubs. There’s no excuse.”
Another wrote, “How about quit bitching and study instead of crying about how unfair it is, and if you didn’t get a good education, because you went to Youngstown City Schools then blame your parents not the white people. Oh, and did I mention maybe study a little more.”
A few people even commented on the article on our website and said the students quoted in the article were racist.
The main point of this editorial and the entire “Black at YSU” issue was to take note of the national conversation surrounding race in America and bring to light issues that black students were facing at the university. We hoped to start a discussion and spark some conversation between professors, students, faculty and friends.
Opinions are opinions, but with some consideration, we hope the conversations the articles sparked will bring real problems to light and yield real answers.
The editorial board that writes editorials consists of the editor-in-chief, the managing editor, the copy editor, and the news editor. These opinion pieces are written separately from news articles. They draw on the opinions of the entire writing staff and do not reflect the opinions of any individual staff member. The Jambar’s business manager and non-writing staff do not contribute to editorials, and the adviser does not have final approval.