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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    College Op-Ed Article Causes Outrage

    Max Karson, a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, found himself in the midst of an uproar after he published an opinion piece titled, “If it’s war the Asians want…,” on Feb. 18 on one of the school papers’ website.

    The article, with the sub-headline, “It’s war they’ll get,” goes on to talk about Karson’s personal feelings toward Asians and his reasons for their behavior.

    Karson, assistant editorial page editor for the The Campus Press, an online, student-run, publication within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the university, filled his article with satirical remarks that some have found appalling.

    “I’m such a fool for not realizing it sooner?but now I know that Asians are not just ‘a product of their environment,’ and their rudeness is not a ‘cultural misunderstanding.’ They hate us all. And I say it’s time we started hating them back,” he said.

    Throughout the article, Karson speaks fervently about the impending war against Asians, detailing the plan of attack and the effect he expects.

    Upon posting the article, protests and demands for justice were made. Offended students of the university formed coalitions pressing for actions to be taken to rectify the wrongs penned on the popular publication’s website. The actions taken by the coalition, which included a rally and threats to have advertisers pull their funding, resulted in Karson’s suspension from the paper.

    Associate Dean for the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University, Marcy McGinnis said, “If staff editor, Max Karson thinks this is a journalistic piece of work, he is sadly mistaken. If this is Mr. Karson’s editorial opinion written as an attempt at either shock or humor, then I suggest he is hideously sophomoric and self-indulgent.

    “As a staff editor Mr. Karson should realize he has an obligation to his readers to provide responsible opinion that should in turn, raise reasonable discourse on subjects as important as culture stereotyping and race relations.”

    Representatives from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, as well as representative from The Campus Press, could not be reached for comment. Karson did, however, speak-through a letter to the Daily Camera, a local paper in Colorado-about the outrage his column provoked by describing the university as a “racist hellhole”.

    Though this happened at a university hundreds of miles away, the reactions to the article can still be heard in the SBU community. Both staff and students alike were shocked by the ideas that were presented in the article.

    “Personally I don’t think [we Asians are] indifferent,” says Josephine Fan, an 18-year-old freshman of Chinese descent. “[We mind our] own business.”

    Several staff and students brought up the point that freedom of the press exists so that people like Karson can express their opinion and not be persecuted for the comments they make.

    Some said, however, that there shouldn’t be an outright assault on specific cultures.

    “When we look at someone else through our cultural lens, we don’t realize what we’re seeing is based on our own beliefs [rather than] who [that person truly is],” said Cheryl Chambers, associate dean for Multicultural Affairs.

    “We talk about [being] multicultural and this includes embracing people with different backgrounds. Comments like the ones made in the article only break down the bridges of communication and cross-cultural understanding.”

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