David Horowitz Revisited
My first assignment for my Media Research class involved a man named David Horowitz. We were required to write a paper on his controversial ads he purchased back in 2001. On Wednesday, all we were told was to “Google David Horowitz and reparations.” Initially, when she mentioned reparations, I had had the thought strike me that this would be about reparations for African Americans. What resulted was his ad which stated “10 Reasons Why Reparations Are a Bad Idea for Blacks – and Racist Too.” My normally conservative self agreed with many of the ideas, but there were an equal number of items that I disagreed with.
Now that I’ve lived here in Rexburg for 3 years, it makes me very grateful that I grew up in a melting-pot of diversity. When my wife visited Michigan for the first time, we went to the local mall to browse the clearance racks. She told me later that she was shocked because there weren’t any “minorities” there. She told me “I felt like the minority!” I’m conservative, so normally reparations don’t sit very well with me, and I’ve never liked using the word “minority” because in my lifetime I’ve felt that the gap between the Caucasian majority and the African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Indian (just to name the main groups) minorities has been shrinking.
Here are Horowitz’s “10 reasons,” and my response is added in bold.
1. There is no single group responsible for the crime of slavery
This I agree with. Slavery has been around forever, dating back to biblical times. While Horowitz is discussing American slavery, and that no single group is responsible for that, my argument is yes, no single group is responsible for that. We were wrong. Yet I would think that we have made many advancements since 1776, 1860, even 1968 as far as race-relations are concerned.
2. There is no one group that benefited exclusively from it’s fruits
I don’t proclaim to be an expert on this, and I really don’t have time to do the research. But I agree with this. How can one say only whites have benefited. How can one lump all “whites,” when they come from all over?
3. Only a tiny minority of whites owned slaves, and others gave their lives to free them
This I will agree with. The American Civil War is something that I would love to do more research in. I’ve heard it said before that, concerning history, the ones who win the war write the history. Yet how many gave their lives trying to protect the notion that “all men were created equal?” Again, broad generalizations, in my humble opinion, are quickly becoming a virus of our generation.
4. America today is a multiethnic nation and most Americans have no connection (direct or indirect) to slavery
This is probably the best argument that Horowitz makes. Kid Rock put out a great single about 3 months ago called “Amen,” a true indictment against our culture, and one of the things he states that other races “got me feeling guilty of being white.” Sometimes I feel this way. Sometimes I feel almost sheepish because of the fact that I am Caucasian, and apparently I have been lumped into this group. It’s like saying all Christian whites are racist because of the KKK
5. The historical precedents used to justify the reparations claim do not apply, and the claim itself is based on race, not injury
When Horowitz states “the claim itself,” he is referring to the claim of slavery. Again, Horowitz hits a home run again here. What injury does an African American face because of his or her ancestors over 100 years ago? How does that treatment affect them today? Perhaps 40, even 25 years ago, there would have been some prejudice against African Americans, yet with the last 20 years, there has been a great awareness of the plight that many African Americans go through. Plans like Affirmative Action and the initiative of many professional sports teams have sought to equalize the opportunities to a more diverse audience
6. The reparations argument is based on the unfounded claim that all African-American descendants of slaves suffer from the economical consequences of slavery and discrimination
I feel like I’m rehashing the same thing here. Make your own conclusions.
7. The reparations claim is one more attempt to turn African-Americans into victims. It sends out a damaging message to the African-American community
My problem with this argument is that it is blatantly worded to incite. “Turn African Americans into victims” makes a broad generalization. I know many affluent African Americans, and I know many Caucasians who are looking to be victims. Instead of making this assumption based on race, why not economic conditions, or family background, or education, or any number of items? Bad move, Horowitz.
8. Reparations to African-Americans have already been paid
This falls under the “Brandt doesn’t understand this” portion. Insert comment here
9. What about the debts blacks owe to America?
This is another false argument – the debt that blacks owe to America? That’s again stating that there is a divide between blacks and the rest of the world.
10. The reparations claim is a Separatist idea that sets African-Americans against the nation that gave them freedom
Again, this is specifically worded to anger people. “Sets African-Americans against the nation” sounds as though there will be an African American revolution. It seems as though this is
Ironically enough, my professor just informed us that Horowitz did this as an “experiment.” He is a former Black Panther, and wanted to see what the reaction of people. Some colleges ran the ad. Some didn’t run the ad. Some ran the ad and then issued a letter of apology.
In my paper, I addressed the fact that the freedom of the press takes on different connotation involving universities. Because of the public and private universities, privates have the ability to be more selective. Yet where can a public university draw the line? Should a public university be required to allow an advertiser to publish an ad that might be controversial, no matter the price?