While Ben Levine’s question — “Does Drake really have a substantial problem with racism?” — is not a bad starting point for inquiry, it would have served our community better if the published column had pursued that question through research and critical thinking, rather than speculation.
For instance, Levine and the editorial staff could have easily checked the factual basis of the rumors about the creation of the petition. One would only have had to speak with the co-authors of the letter to find that we wrote it not for a social media class, but because we were moved to take action after hearing about the incident at a meeting of the Working Group for Infusing Global and Multicultural Understandings.
To provide a more informed opinion on his subject, Levine also could have spoken with one or more of the students who were targeted during the hate speech incident to gain their perspectives. Instead, the column engaged in speculation about what happened, and as a result, it dismissed the lived experience of the students who were most directly affected by the incident.
These acts of inquiry are consistent with Drake’s educational goals, as well as with standards of journalistic integrity. Moving forward, I would urge The Times-Delphic not only to continue to provide a forum for our community to engage in discussion about multicultural understanding, but also to hold itself to a standard in which its contents — including opinion pieces — must be informed by research.
Dr. Jennifer Perrine