Pamplona and shock humor

"Your publication of this comment seems out of character with a community that portrays itself as supportive and accepting of cultural diversity."

This letter refers to Heard in the Hallways, a magazine-exclusive section. The content in question is on page 23 of the October 2019 issue.

To the editors:

“Pamplona is like the Alabama of Spain” —Wood Hall is one of seven comments listed in the column Heard in the Hallways from the October 2019 issue of The Tam News. I was alarmed to see this comment in print, particularly in a column that is seemingly dedicated to relating humorous comments made by students.

This comment casually conveys disdain, prejudice and an elitist attitude toward two communities of people: the citizens of Pamplona, Spain and those of the state of Alabama. The comment stands in stark contrast to the others listed in the column. It does not reflect a student behavior as the other six do. Instead, it infers a negative opinion about Pamplona and Alabama. It is, in short, offensive.

It is also pointedly offensive to the Tam High-Pamplona exchange program, which Brian Zailian and I worked to create during my 20 years teaching Spanish at Tam High, and which has been going strong for 10 years. Your careless, irresponsible journalism casts a negative shadow on this unique program and the positive learning experiences of the nearly 200 students and families that have participated in the exchange.

Your publication of this comment seems out of character with a community that portrays itself as supportive and accepting of cultural diversity. I know that Tam High School is continually working to address issues of equity and prejudice in its school community. “Pamplona is like the Alabama of Spain” demonstrates the dire need for the work to continue.

Cheryl Mochalski

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