Disappointing decision on column

It is with dismay and disappointment to learn Professor Sundiata Cha-Jua’s bi-weekly opinion column, “Real Talk: A Black Perspective,” has been “paused” by the News-Gazette.

It is The News-Gazette’s ball, of course, and they can do what they want with it. Whenever we speak in these pages of the newspaper or talk on its WDWS radio station, we should know we are always walking on private property. If and when the editors and producers decide your speech is unacceptable, it can be legally erased at their discretion. This soapbox is here to sell advertising. Period.

The public, however, likes to say we want free speech. We say we want to hear all opinions, that all facts are to be on the table, but when someone like Professor Cha-Jua brings real truths from a different perspective for our consideration, a few of us can’t bear it and resort to violent threats and threats of illegal cyberattacks.

For those who disapprove of Professor Cha-Jua’s writings, where was your submission for a column or a Letter to the Editor? The answer to “offensive” speech is more speech — like what NAACP President Minnie Pearson did last year, or letter writers Jim Goss, a Champaign County Board member (Oct. 26), and citizen Jeff Wilson (Nov. 13) did — not censorship.

By rewarding those who use intimidation, The News-Gazette has set a terrible precedent whereby anyone angry enough to threaten others now knows it will be effective to remove opinions and information they don’t like.

CHRISTOPHER EVANS

Urbana

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