Letters to the editor, June 7, 2018

These are the letters and comments from the print edition.

Word watch 1

Your shady reference to "every white girl's" garden in The Coast poll doesn't pass the smell test ("What should be done with the dead agave plant?" The Poll, May 31). Try substituting Black, Aboriginal, Korean, et cetera for "white girl," and ask if that would be OK.

Enough racism going around in this province already, as you've aptly noted in your piece on Halifax Transit. No need for bush league (pun intended) slights against white women and their choice of plants. Evelyn C. White, Halifax Word watch 2

I've always enjoyed Jacob Boon's investigative reporting. It seems to be a dying art in mainstream media.

But his story in The Coast on racism at Halifax Transit, while I'm sure inadvertently, further traumatized Black readers ("Widespread racism within Halifax Transit," The City section, May 31). I, for one, had to put down the article when I saw the n-word printed in full. This circumscribes my experience as a reader—something I'm sure you do not desire.

The story would not have been less impactful, nor prevent the point from coming across, had he written "n----r" or something equivalent. Unequivocally, I can say with confidence, no one would have misunderstood. Connor Smithersmapp, Halifax

Jacob Boon responds: Hey Connor,

Valid point and thanks for sending it. In the past, I've usually avoided writing the word unless it's being used in artistic expressions (like quoting Solange's lyrics in the "Rhythm, soul and the earth" cover story last month) or when, like in this case, it's a direct quote from a published decision about specific racist actions. The intent is to not sanitize or downplay the extremity of the hate. I just don't want you to think it wasn't published without some thought to the impact. But that said, our style guide is always evolving and I'm quite happy to accept being wrong. Given that this matter will probably come up again in the future—what with the intolerance of this town—I'll ask other readers to weigh in with their thoughts. Please feel free to email us at news@thecoast.ca. Thanks again for contacting me.

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