Apology from the newsroom
By Tim Owens
Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2009
In the last two issues, The Northerner ran an ad for a business called Resistance Records. The ad was cut-and-dry. It listed all of the types of music it sells and listed its URL at the bottom. But after this past weekend, we found the intent behind the ad was not so cut-and-dry.
Via an inquiry from Channel 12 News, who got the tip from a concerned reader, we found that Resistance Records is a business that promotes white supremacy.
After investigating the validity of this right after I got the call, I made the decision to immediately halt all business with Resistance Records. While it is not illegal to run ads of this nature, we at The Northerner see it as an ethical issue. We do not wish to be in business with groups or organizations that promote any form of racism, sexism, ageism, or any other form of discrimination. While issues of this nature are dependent on who runs The Northerner each semester, it was my decision that the paper, for this semester, will not advertise with this business or other businesses like it.
The Northerner is a college newspaper. They can run the ads they want, of course. But on college campuses there has been and remains a glaring contradiction. Universities often loudly proclaim that they are places where ideas, even unpopular ones, can be explored.
The problem is that only some unpopular ideas are allowed an airing on most campuses. For example, a few years ago at the university referred to in this article Angela Davis was a speaker. When leftist statists air their views on campus and any objection is made, the reply comes that, while we don’t necessarily endorse these views, the university is a place where any idea can be explored.
But if the idea in question approves of ‘racism, sexism, ageism, or any other form of discrimination’ it is instantly squelched when discovered. While I do not approve of any of these views, universities cannot have it both ways. Either we can explore all ideas on campus, or we cannot. If we can, then even very distasteful, even ethically objectionable, ideas must be allowed on campus. If we cannot explore all ideas on campus, then universities must be just as quick to squelch any idea that anyone finds objectionable for the sake of making campuses comfortable for everyone.
This continuing attempt by universities to proclaim free expression while at the same time prohibiting a certain category of ideas (bad as they may be) is a bit of hypocritical inconsistency that someone should have the courage to correct.