Friday, August 10, 2007

For Shame!

I saw on a random blog today that this is Blog Against Racism week.

Oh, the irony.

Now, I've only been in New York since 2004, but it didn't take me long to figure out that the Post and Daily News were disgustingly sensationalistic excuses for newspapers. But apparently I underestimated them--the Post is also openly racist. Not surprised? Yeah, me neither. Still disgusted? Yep, me too.

I'm not the most informed of citizens (too much of the news is sensationalized, silly [Lohan and Hilton escapades?], or too upsetting [our President?]), and I'm not the most articulate writer, so I apologize for my bumbling efforts, but even I can't ignore this.

The Post has published two very racist, name-calling articles about the woman trying to open the Khalil Gibran school in Brooklyn.

"Almontaser, a community activist and Muslim, has said the new grade 6-12 public school will be modeled on other dual-language city schools and have no religious component."

"Intifada is a war. Isn't that what Arafat had?" said Pamela Hall, a Manhattan mom opposed to the academy on the grounds that it violates separation of church and state."

So many things wrong in just these two sentences. First, calling her a community activist but then basically qualifying it by referencing her religion and cultural background? This reporter has taken an innocent direct quote from Almontaser, but by invoking Muslim as basically a racial epithet, implies that she cannot be trusted and is wrong or lying.

For who is a better judge and expert on Middle East troubles than narrow-minded Manhattan moms who clearly can't read?

So naturally, the next step is to actually call the educator and activist the 'Intifada Principal.' Read on into the article, and the controversial t-shirts,

"were being sold by an Arab activist group headquartered in the same storefront as a Yemeni-American association that Almontaser heads."

So what exactly did she do to 'earn' this slur? Merely be of Middle-Eastern descent and work NEAR another Middle-Eastern group. Propinquity now determines guilt?

An established educator has been working for years to get this school going, a school that would TEACH future generations about different and foreign cultures and ways of thinking (has that reporter ever even read any Khalil Gibran? Read before you throw stones, please), which, one hopes, would help those future generations to be more accepting and open-minded; instead, the racism she's trying to overcome is thrown right back in her face.

I am literally trembling with anger and disgust. These stories make me sick to my stomach.

SHAME on you, NYPost. SHAME on you, anyone who fell for this racist claptrap.

Something needs to be done about this all-too-pervasive attitude, in New York City and in the United States in general. You know what's 'revolting,' Post? Your small-minded tabloid attitude and its 'tenuous' grasp of ethics and cultural acceptance. Shame on you.


Schoolgal said...

We live in a climate that is distrustful. However, as an administrator and founder of the Gibran school, she did not display good judgment when she supported a T-shirt (that was designed by an organization she had connections with) that was hurtful to Jews and New Yorkers. Now the very people who supported her efforts had no choice by to question her leadership. The result was her
resignation. Now the school can open without this cloud over it.

As teachers we have to be mindful of what we say and do, and our jobs should be to promote acceptance and tolerance. As a principal, she needed to do that too, especially if her school is founded on those principles. Certain phrases will always have a negative notation and "Intifada" is among them.

The Post and News have been slanted for many years now. And I am sure they were looking for something that would shed a poor light on this school. Unfortunately, they found it.

btw, Welcome back.

Joseph said...

The idea that all human being are equal regardless of race is offensive to racists. Does that mean we shouldn't espouse that belief because we might offend racists? NO.

Similarly, the Palestinian Intifada (which is where most non-Arabic speaking people first heard of the term, including myself) was a legitimate resistance to an illegal and oppressive occupation. Should we, therefore, not mention the word "Intifada" because we might offend those racists?

Joseph said...

The term "those racists" in my previous post refers to the racists who believe that the Palestinian Intifada was unjustified or a terrorist act.

Schoolgal said...

While many symbols and sayings have new connotations, the t-shirt said, "New York Intifada" This upset many New Yorkers including major organizations that were supportive of this principal.

The principal later apologized, but too late to stop more rants.
It was the Sun that originally wrote blatant racist articles against this school back in May. This principal, who btw is a respected teacher and staff developer, knew that there was not only opposition from these rags, but also from people like Diave Ratvitch (but for other reasons).

The Sun, Post and News are somehow able to get away with publishing these comments.