The Baltimore Sun has published an article apologizing for the racism the newspaper has shown towards black residents of Marylore and black Americans in the past since the 19th century.
“We are deeply sorry: The Baltimore Sun has for decades promoted policies that have oppressed black people in Marylore; we are working to make amends” is the title of the article. It begins with the story of the Baltimore Sun’s founder, Arunah S. Abell, who was a longtime supporter of slavery and segregation in the 1850s.
“Instead of using this platform to question and fight racism, the Baltimore Sun often used prejudice as a tool of the times. She fed white readers’ fear and anxiety with stereotypes and caricatures that reinforced their false beliefs about Black Americans,” the article reads.
“Through its reporting and editorial opinions, the Baltimore Sun has exacerbated, preserved and encouraged the structural racism that continues to oppress Black Marylanders in our communities today.” As examples of “this newspaper’s misdeeds,” the article cites classified ads for sale of slaves and rewards for returning escaped slaves in 1837; and articles calling for disenfranchisement of black voters and racial segregation in the early 1900s.
To right past wrongs, the Baltimore Sun has launched several diversity and inclusion initiatives. “We are committed to righting past mistakes regarding racial politics and have taken steps toward a consciously inclusive future on our sites and in our professional practices.” Among these, the Baltimore Sun lists, among other things, a new diversity department to report on disadvantaged minorities, as well as to get in touch with groups that have been underreported in the past; greater diversity in photos, equal opportunities for job applications in the newspaper and the development of a cultural competency guide.
The newspaper’s current publisher and editor-in-chief, Trif Alatzas, also published an addendum on the website, saying, among other things, “We know we need to do better and we are committed to doing so.”