Wildcat ad poorly presents controversial subject
On Friday, March 9, the Wildcat published an ad entitled "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad Idea - And Racist Too," written by David Horowitz, author and director of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.
The ad has caused considerable controversy on college campuses. As of today, the ad has been sent to 46 campuses. Only eight have published the ad; three - including ASU -have published it with an apology.
We support the Wildcat's decision to run the ad. It is difficult, but not wrong, to present controversial ideas in a campus newspaper. When those ideas are presented in a respectful manner, they can only help to deepen and advance the discourse on important subjects. In our vibrant academic community, there are many who can refute and support Horowitz's arguments.
While we do not seek the apology that has been demanded at institutions like Berkeley, we do ask that the Wildcat editorial board consider how to better present information of a controversial nature in the future. No doubt, the editorial board debated long and hard about the wisdom of publishing this ad. This was not the run-of-the-mill advertisement for Eegees. The ad casts a critical lens not only on African Americans, but also Japanese Americans, Native Americans and Jews, who have received various forms of reparations in recent years for atrocities committed against them. The ideas located within the ad question many core beliefs - for instance, whether slavery indeed has had a negative impact on today's African Americans.
The concept of reparations for blacks has been discussed for over 100 years. But what is the current national debate regarding this subject? Who is David Horowitz? What is the Wildcat's policy on running controversial ads? By not providing this simple information, the Wildcat failed to provide a context by which its readers could evaluate the merit of Horowitz's argument.
In addition, the ad was published on the Friday before Spring Break, on the day when the Wildcat offices were moving, leaving those who felt the need to respond immediately without a voice. These factors combined make the ad feel more like a hit-and-run attack on people of color than it needs to.
It is not too late to respond. We hope that the campus community will take this opportunity to contribute our voices to the national debate on race and racism in America. And we hope that in the future, the Wildcat will consider its obligation to properly frame difficult topics to create a more productive and useful forum.
Lynette Cook Francis
Associate Dean of Students and
Director of Multicultural Programs & Services
Reparations ad shows single, narrow perspective
When the Arizona Daily Wildcat decided to run a full-page ad which alleged that payments as reparations for slavery would be wrong, it was within its rights as an advocate of free speech and within its policy for accepting paid ads.
In spite of that, something about the ad troubled me deeply. If one of your reporters had been assigned to cover the story of David Horowitz's ad, you would have insisted that many points of view be represented in order to balance the story. Since it was a paid ad, however, only a single, narrow perspective was presented.
I would urge you to consider establishing a forum to allow diverse perspectives to be heard. A good start would be to provide the web address for the actual text of the reparations bill. It is http://thomas.loc.gov/, and the name to enter in the search engine is "HR40." Thank you.
Saundra L. Taylor, Ph.D.
Vice President, Campus Life
Reparations ad disgusting
I am writing once again out of utter disgust for the Wildcat and it's decision to run the Center for the Study of Popular Culture's advertisement "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad Idea for Blacks - and Racist Too" written by David Horowitz.
Forty-seven university newspapers were solicited to run the advertisement; eighteen outright rejected it and so far only nine university papers have decided to run it. Our student newspaper, the Arizona Daily Wildcat, is one of these "prestigious"universities. Now I know that I will be called a censor and a Nazi because of my opposition to Horowitz's propaganda and the Wildcat's decision to run it, but I do feel that Horowitz has the right to say whatever illogical, racist garbage he wants to. However, the voices that don't agree with him should also be heard. And there will always be voices opposing his message-not because they want to censor him, rather, because there are many people in the world and on our campus that feel that racism is morally wrong and should end. Is the student newspaper at our university representing those students? Is our student newspaper also presenting advertisements in support of paying reparations for slavery or that argue against reparations in a manner that does not resort to racism?
The answer to these questions is undoubtedly no. The Wildcat chose to run the ad for money and chose to represent the University of Arizona as a place that is tolerant of racism. Is this how you would like to be represented? Maybe instead of trying to represent itself as a student-run newspaper that cares about student issues, the Wildcat should stick to what it's good at-dependably providing the student population with a crossword puzzle every day.
Women's Studies and Psychology Junior
Wildcat stands strong for free speech
The Wildcat staff has the toughest job that exists on any college campus in America. When I stood in the Memorial Student Union basement doing their job, I endured much of the same intimidation and threats they can expect to come their way in the days following the Wildcat's publication of an ad placed by David Horowitz.
Student editors at Arizona State, Berkeley and the University of California-Davis are rolling over like university administration-trained lapdogs in the wake of running the same ad, groveling and apologizing for hurting the feelings of deeply sensitive readers who do not agree with Horowitz. When a campus climate sanctions only feel-good and/or leftist views, it's called mind control - though some administrators prefer the more benign "politically correct." When the campus newspaper reflects only the sanctioned ideas, it's called censorship.
I want to encourage the Wildcat's editors as they continue to put their best foot forward (appropriately, as they move into the newspaper's new digs this week), standing as strong supporters of free speech.
UA class of 1997 and former Wildcat editor