The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday April 12th

Letter: Satire editorial was not productive

Editor’s Note: Jonathan Nunez and Will Parker are serving members of The Daily Tar Heel Editorial Board. They are critiquing a previous editorial written by the board.


This letter is in response to the Sept. 12 editorial “Just what you need: a safe space for white men.”

We know, we know, we are a little late to comment on this one.

But as brand new Daily Tar Heel editorial board members, we still have not quite grasped the concept of timeliness, so we hope you will give us a pass.

First of all, let us say this: we thought the editorial was in some ways on point.

Clearly satire, it captured the worst of fraternity-associated obliviousness to racialized power disparities.

Our problem with the essay lies more in the larger context in which it was released.

If the Daily Tar Heel opinion desk truly wishes to affect social change with its criticism, it needs to carry social weight.

And to carry social weight, it needs to make a semblance of an effort at criticizing fairly, because people tend to be more receptive to correction when they do not feel like they are being singled out.

That means lampooning the worst of excesses on the left as well as on the right (or, what passes for the right on college campuses).

A start would be to criticize students like those who, during last fall’s Yale Halloween fiasco, witch-hunted their residence faculty advisor over his refusal to grovel in apology to them (a controversy which the DTH editorial board ignored entirely).

Satire is also more effective at some times than others.

Race has been a hot issue recently and if we, as a journalist organization, want to make relevant and progressive commentary on the issues at hand, we must approach our writing with objectivity and balance.

As a comedic piece, the safe spaces for white men article did its job, but there is a time, place and subject matter for that type of critique and the effectiveness of this one in particular was definitely questionable.

A more nuanced look at the racial power dynamics within our community would have more than likely resonated with a wider audience.

The aim of journalism should be to appeal to as wide of a demographic as possible while maintaining a morally deliberate message, not just to preach to the choir.

Jonathan Nunez



Will Parker

Graduate student

School of Medicine

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