The New York Times published an opinion piece from Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. In this piece, Sen. Cotton advocated for the United States federal government to send in the military to suppress the protesting of police violence against African Americans. These protests, wanting the curtail of state power to harm its citizens was met with the quote, “One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers”. The public statements from Senator Cotton created such an uproar that the New York Times deemed them unfit for editorial standards. Unfortunately, over the past years, these types of editorials that actively harm citizens met said editorial standards for the Times. The fact that the New York Times allowed said post, should be considered the last straw for the leadership of the New York Times. It is clear that they are more willing to abdicate their ability to power check powerful institutions and people. As such, the only course of action in order for the New York Times to do better is for leadership to resign.
Make no mistake this editorial from Senator Cotton endanger African-Americans as well as minorities both in the United States and abroad. It’s no secret that African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans are disproportionately affected by disparities in the United States whether it’s through the healthcare system (especially in the wake of coronavirus pandemic), the financial system, and through state violence. These disparities and harm propagate to many areas including fandom.
Speaking to the fandom area, we’ve seen these words and comments remove black and brown fans from fandom. Time and time again minorities receive attacks through entities such as Gamergate, ComicsGate, the Sad Puppies campaign. These targeted disproportionately women and women of color not only chasing them off of social media but actively weaponizing the police to attack or harm them. Black and brown fans saw closed doors trying to enter into their fandom through jobs, opportunities, isolating work cultures.
A hobby that gave them so much, through inspiration ether through escapism or through displaying their anxieties and fears squashed through the medium, these people wanted to contribute towards video games, or comics and have equitable contributions back. These comments perpetuate a system where a lot of the contributions get unnoticed, or worst attacked until the black and brown members are expelled. More simply, these comments remove family, friends, loved ones from anime, comics, cartoons, literature, nerd and geek fans who will have to grieve over their deaths. This editorial posted by the Times not only give cover for state violence but equally, give a wink and a nod to these actors saying “we have your back” to remove minorities from culture while taking everything they built for the culture.
The New York Times leadership allowed for the paper to side with power than with its readership or those afflicted by power, with the rare occasion when it does the opposite. This article demonstrates this thought and leadership in full. The New York Times, uncritically decided that it was worth publishing that knowing the largeness and the impact of their words that would resonate not only outside of the political arena, but those touched outside of said arena, such as minority fandom members.
The New York Times’ Voice resonates everywhere, even into fandom. They used that power to perpetuate a sitting Senator’s agreement to attack and harm citizens they represent and those they do not. Even further, they pitched the idea to said senator. Letting that power justing attacking citizens through state violence means one thing: Leadership failed, leadership must resign.