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Racist posters: Editor’s reflections

Reporting on posters made by neo-Nazis is something you hope to never have to do as a journalist. Hate is ugly—especially racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Indigenous hate like that which was found on the posters at UNB last week. While researching for our articles, I had to look through pages of the hatred promoted by the National Socialist Canadian Labour Revival Party (NSCLRP), and it made me physically ill. These men, although I’d hardly like to call them men, are monsters.

Throughout our coverage of the racist posters, I had to make a lot of judgement calls. Should we publish the posters on our platform? At first we decided not to—we didn’t want to do the work of the white-supremacists by further publicizing their racist message. Those who thought there was nothing racist about the posters called us out for this decision. They claimed we were hiding the posters and lying about their white-supremacist content. Those people are wrong.

Later, when the posters made the rounds on social media anyway, we decided to publish them in their entirety. We also chose to show the anti-Semitic, misogynistic and racist messages espoused by the NSCLRP, which we found on their blog. We did not take this decision lightly, for the beliefs of the NSCLRP are thoroughly disgusting, but we wanted to show to our readers just what kinds of people hold white-supremacist views.

For those who call bias, I would like to draw your attention to The Brunswickan’s stance on hate speech, one which will never change:

The Brunswickan condemns all hate speech, including that which was found in the posters on the UNB Fredericton campus. We do not believe there is any “neutral” or “objective” way to cover this topic.

You can call us biased all you want. But truth ≠ lack of bias.

Going forward, should racist posters come to UNB again, The Brunswickan will no longer be reporting on the subject as we have been. We do not want to incite more posters by providing their creator(s) a more public platform to spread a racist message. Instead, we will be notifying our readers of any new posters and encouraging them to rip down any that they find and report it to UNB Security.

However, we would also like feedback from our readers. How did you find our coverage of the posters? Do you have any concerns? Was there something we could have done better? Did we do anything well? We believe in transparency and all comments will be appreciated.

While there are many people left hurting after what happened at UNB last week, it was heartening to see so many members of the UNB come together to condemn the posters. We can all further join together at an event this Wednesday called the “All My People Unity Gathering At UNB.” Hosted by UNB and the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre, it will take place at South Gym at 6:45 p.m. According to the event’s Facebook page, this will be “a grass roots, healing round dance and smudging ceremony to re-affirm and celebrate cross cultural unity, love, diversity and solidarity.”

As long as we are willing to join together against hatred, the neo-Nazis and white-supremacists of the world will never win.

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1 Comment

  1. John Robb Reply

    Thanks for the coverage. I believe it has been fair and thoughtful. I think you are correct to worry about giving a platform to the hatred that these people are attempting to spread. I believe that the discussion coming from it is worth the risk. Some defenders/ironic free speechers keep saying things like, “This type of speech needs to be allowed so people can make their own decision and have their own opinion.” I agree with them but not on their terms. We need to show this for the blatantly specious and dog whistle filth that it is.

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