An Open Letter to Ross Steinberg

This column is a response to to Ross Steinberg's Sept. 26 article “Why the Claremont Independent Fired Me.”

I appreciate your exposé of the neo-Nazi meme group “U PC BREAUX.” However, I must admit that I cannot say the same for your TSL-published article, “Why the Claremont Independent Fired Me.”

In that article, you aptly summarize the Claremont Independent’s hypocritical response to your article: “…[T]here is a deep sense of victimhood at the Claremont Independent. It is evident in their visceral reaction to an article they view as threatening to members of their tribe as well as in their lack of accountability.”

The Claremont Independent clearly has no qualms in publishing an article that endangers its subject – as long as the target isn’t their own staff. After all, how else could one explain their visceral reaction towards your article given that they wrote a similar exposé about the secret group 5C Women of Color during April 2016?

Sure, perhaps they realized the error of their ways, as evidenced by the editorial board’s change in policy on releasing names in articles. Nevertheless, they did not publicize this change. They still lack accountability.

You end your article by saying, “And I hope that when members of the Claremont community encounter someone with whom they disagree with, they will open dialogue with them, consider their unique circumstances, and be willing to forgive them if ever they do wrong.”

You refuse to explicitly name the Independent's staff as those “with whom [we the Claremont community] disagree[s] with,” but it is heavily implied. This demonstrates your continuous loyalty to the Independent’s staff and defense of their character. Despite your awareness of the staff’s clear lack of moral compass, you still speak sympathetically of the verbal beratement and prejudice this “poor minority” faces on campus.

Well, Ross, please forgive me when I say that I not only refuse to share your sympathies, but it is also impossible for me to do so. You see, the Independent's staff is not merely a minority that is simply defensive against its ostracization from the Claremont community.

The Claremont Independent may be a statistical minority in their conservatism, but they are not institutionally oppressed by this facet of their identity.

To pity the Claremont Independent staff and their ilk for being a minority is the same as pitying neo-Nazis for being a minority. Of course the community will berate them. They have put students’ lives at danger through doxxing them.

Claremont students have gotten death threats from Independent readers. Some students have transferred out of the 5Cs as a result of being doxxed by the Independent. Some have done worse. I don’t need to go into the gory details of the Independent’s moral crimes to justify the pure hatred the Claremont community has for them.

The Independent is not like the marginalized communities it oppresses. Maybe this is hard for you to understand because you haven’t felt threatened by their presence and actions. Yes, they fired you, but they have not endangered your life.

They haven’t thrown support behind politicians who work to deprive you of your human rights. They have not filmed your face and publicly identified you as undocumented, or taken pictures of a flyer you put up around campus with your contact information for readers to consume.

They haven’t doxxed your community – because, frankly, as a white male, you exist within some of their communities. And despite your former coworkers being outed as some of the neo-Nazis in the group you exposed, you still consider them to be friends.

So again, thank you for your work in exposing the group, but I still cannot trust you when I don’t know where your loyalties lie.

Annie Moten is a Pomona ’17 alum and current Clinical-Counseling Psychology Master’s student at Illinois State University.

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