Hey guys, I really want to ask you about a certain problem (it's not really a problem anymore, it's resolved) but I'm wondering if in your opinion I did the right thing in the circumstances that were given to me. Long story short, here are some background information: Er , not really short, but if you have time to digest this situation, please go on ahead!
In regards to one of the articles published in our school magazine which I run, someone voiced her concerns that the story was racist and that she (and others, she did specify, but didn't list any names), felt offended by the article. She wanted a full apology by the team and the author, but it was interesting because the article was a short story; it was a fictional story.
So I met with my team and sponsor teachers, and we sent back a reply stating that we didn't understand why it was racist (we didn't, it was an honest answer), and if the reader would like to explain her reasons. We said that due to the definition of racism, we didn't find anything that was racist, but would take another look if she helped us out to identify what, to her, was racist.
She replied, a bit smart-ass (but I didn't care about how she replied, because emotions/words can be easily mistaken, so I stuck to deciphering her words and her reasons, unbiased), but found that her reasons were very much her own opinion. She claimed the story was racist, but in the same letter, stated that the author shouldn't write the story because he was not of the race that his character was written in. Was I correct in thinking that she's being racist towards the author too? Or hypocritical? She also believes that because she was of one of the races mentioned (and she's clearly mistaken, because in the story there was no mention directly of a race; everything was inferred), she knows everything to do with the conflicts the author described, and that her own opinions and experiences prove that the author is wrong, and that based on her experiences, hers is right.
In the middle she called out on intentional spelling errors (names) which were made intentionally by the author, and slammed our editing team and department heads for not being able to "keep the magazine quality", and stated that our team have not taken a look at these. I wouldn't mind her to point out these errors, but in the letter, she made it to sound like she was nit-picking, and assuming that we unintentionally made errors -- when she could have just suggested to us that there _might_ be errors with the names, that we should look into them.
After meeting with our department heads and teachers, we ended up replying to her saying that we will not be apologizing for the short story, since it is a work of fiction and the opinion of the author (it was not libel nor slander). I wrote that I acknowledged sincerely of her understanding of her own culture and race, and that if she ever wanted to, she could submit her own story or article from her point of view, and we will publish that without a problem. We also suggested her joining the editing team, because having a sharp mind like hers really could help our team do better, as we understood she was implying. We also wrote that she picked out flaws that were _not_ flaws in the first place, and that rather having solid facts (i.e. statistics, news reports) she based her reasons on her own opinions.. which means that she can be right, but at the same time, could be wrong, just like the author's story could be right AND wrong, because opinions are neither right nor wrong.
However, she replied quite heatedly and agressively a few days later and called us out for being disrespectful, ignorant, and biased. She also said that we weren't open-minded nor considerate, and that we didn't take her concern seriously and treated it like a joke (where in fact it was not, and I, at least, treated it as a very serious matter like it actually is). She says an apology wasn't enough anymore, and in her reply she twisted our words into some really far-off meaning/sentences. She also denied joining the club saying that she "knew who we are now, ignorant, et cetera." And that she wouldn't join a club like ours. She also denied to writing a story or article from her point of view, too.
And yet, she says she wishes she can meet with the team to further talk about her opinions and all in a meeting... yet I don't know why we really need to, because as a team we have agreed on a response already. We gave her options but she shot them down.
TL;DR, we have so far concluded this complaint, and still stand by our words that if she wanted ever to join, we'll let her join and welcome her. That if she wanted to write something from her own opinion and experiences, we'll definitely let her and have it published.
Do you guys think I solved this alright?
Or what can I still do?
Did our team do the right thing?
Or was there a way we could handle this situation better?
And in these circumstances, how do you know how far you should go to appeal to a complaint when the person who complained starts bashing and calling the club names and being irresponsible and hypocritical?
Thanks guys, I hope to keep learning from these obstacles/confrontations. <3