As a former California Aggie staff writer, I found Sarah Kohgadai’s column on Tuesday to be particularly haphazard, irrelevant and distasteful.
Kohgadai smugly writes that Sen. Robert Byrd was associated with the Klu Klux Klan and that “racism is part of our history.” It’s alive and well in her columns, too. Kohgaai probably should have mentioned that the sky is blue and that grass grows, because nothing she reported is new or novel.
Hardly anyone would disagree that Senator Byrd’s comments, made over half a century ago, were appalling. However, given Kohgadai’s propensity to advance her self-aggrandizing, thinly-veiled agenda against perceived white hegemony in her columns, her bizarre choice of topic is somewhat explainable.
But if Kohgadai insists on playing the race card in her every column, she should at least do so with a modicum of journalistic integrity. If she didn’t outright lie in the latest one, she certainly didn’t do a simple Internet search to verify her claims.
For example, she does not mention that Byrd has denounced his association with the Klan and has profusely apologized in his 2006 autobiography. She omits the fact that he officially endorsed Barack Obama in the presidential campaign. Nor does Kohgadai mention Byrd’s commitment to higher education: He is responsible for the federal scholarships that bear his name, which give over $40 million to high-achieving students annually. Finally, and most egregiously, Ms. Kohgadai writes that Byrd was the lone vote against Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas’ respective confirmations. That is completely false. Marshall was confirmed in a 69-11 vote, and Thomas was barely confirmed in a 52-48 vote.
If Kohgadai insists on tackling the supposedly pressing racial issues of our time, perhaps she could dissect the atrocity at Ft. Hood for us (and yes, some of the murderer’s victims were “minority and marginalized”). But since the perpetrator of that vicious, religiously and ethnically-motivated crime was neither white nor Christian, I suspect we won’t hear a peep from her.
Senior, Managerial Economics & History