Letters to the Editor

Letter: Hermano Fortes feature falls short

By
Monday, November 14, 2016

To the Editor:

Hermano Fortes finds family at hockey rink” (Nov. 11) is a short-sighted, one-dimensional article that was published carelessly on the front page of The Herald Friday.

The Herald clearly intended to publish a heartwarming, behind-the-scenes piece about a beloved Facilities worker. The Herald’s staff accomplished their goal, certainly, and the problem lies with the tone of this story, rather than its mediocre execution.

The portrayal of Fortes as the ever-smiling, happy worker is flat and fails to grasp any aspect of his character aside from how Brown students perceive him. Nothing about the interview points to an attempt to gain insight into Fortes’ character or life. Reductive language and generalizing images are used to paint a thoughtless picture that enforces racist and classist narratives.

Though Fortes may love his job and be great at it, there is certainly more to this individual than someone “you can always find … behind the wheel of the resurfacer.” Even if this is what Fortes said (it is ambiguous in the article whether the author is quoting or editorializing), it is the reporter’s duty to ask deeper questions and write a fuller story about his life.

The author Cal Barash-David ’19 also ignores how Facilities workers are treated at Brown. Facilities workers have been striving for better wages and conditions for years. This is clearly documented in the Herald archives.

The Herald has talked for a while about improving the diversity of its staff and improving The Herald as a publication. This article signifies failure on the behalf of this specific staff writer and the entire editorial staff.

Lindsay Gantz ’17.5