The more READABLE version: DP repeats prejudicial ad
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DP repeats prejudicial ad
As regular readers of The Daily Pennsylvanian, we have only been genuinely surprised twice. The first was when we were fooled as freshmen by the April Fools’ edition, and the second occurred last semester, when the DP ran a full-page advertisement replete with the lowest of bellicose rhetoric.
After reading the Sept. 13 edition of the DP, we not only question but deplore the lack of judgment that a campus paper as lauded as the DP would, for the second semester in a row, publish an advertisement that runs contrary to the spirit of not only our University but also to that of journalism itself.
Any organization such as the DP must necessarily raise funds to continue its operations, and we fully understand that point. However, we must remind the editors of the DP that accepting money to publish such hate-filled propaganda and bigotry against others is an endorsement and a clear political statement about what it does and does not deem as hate speech.
The DP would never, for example, run an advertisement from the Ku Klux Klan claiming ambiguous phrases of freedom were forms of “white hatred” and that African Americans were somehow trying to wage genocide. The DPwould never run an advertisement from the Westboro Baptist Church stating “God hates fags” or “Thank God for 9/11.” Why, then, does it insist on repeatedly printing full-page advertisements of hatred, bigotry and propaganda that alienates individuals and denigrates meaningful scholarship?
What sort of environment and community does the DP hope to foster? One of alienation toward Muslims and Arabs? Why is the absence of critical academic engagement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict being substituted by polemical and hate-filled intolerance? An advertisement, by its very nature, is a one-sided propagation to influence behavior more so than to facilitate communal dialogue.
This advertisement is an attempt to isolate and target human beings within our community; its only agenda is to provoke hate and elicit prejudice. With the recent rise of Islamophobia in the wake of 9/11, such irresponsibility on the part of the DP to publish this ad is seen as a means of discrimination and an affront on the safety of Muslims and Arabs, as well as those who may be mistaken for either Muslim or Arab.
The spirit of the University of Pennsylvania, to us, espouses and fosters pluralism, critical thinking, academic engagement with issues and social justice — and we are wholly ashamed of The Daily Pennsylvanian in its irresponsible decision to publish such baleful rhetoric.
An apology by the DP is not only in order, but — in the future — editors should exercise better judgment and express a modicum of sagacity in their advertisement decisions. Newspapers, as a form of journalism, should not be in the business of politics, but rather in truth-telling and honest reporting. One word for the wise is enough, and two words for the not-so-wise are more than plenty.
Hadi Kaakour, College senior, former president of the Penn Arab Student Society
Abbas Rattani, 2010 Master’s degree recipient from the School of Medicine
Nicky Singh, chairman of the Asian Pacific Student Coalition
Jibran Khan, president of the Class Board of 2012
Victor Scotti, Planning and Facilitating chairman, UMOJA
Juan Carlos Melendez-Torres, vice chairman of the United Minorities Council
James Sawyer & Maryam Alireza, co-presidents of the Penn Arab Student Society
Sima Golnabi, president of the Penn Persian Society
Leo Wang, president of the Community Health Initiative at Penn