The Black People’s Union and Asian Student Alliance will hold a Rally Against Racism Monday to denounce fake advertisements in a recent edition of the campus satirical newspaper Protest THIS!
“Various student organizations have contacted me offended with the remarks made in the paper,” said Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar, Student Association president.
BPU members were angered by a parody ad for “MastaCard” in the April edition, which was released Tuesday. The ad mimicked MasterCard’s style of listing prices for various items, including Colt 45 and Popeye’s chicken in the parody. It depicted a black man with the caption “Masta treat us real good.”
“It shook me up a little bit,” said James Allen, president of BPU.
In another fake ad, the same picture is used for all members of ASA. The slogan read, “We all look the same.”
“In this day and age, humor can destroy people,” said Mike Gargano, executive director of the Student Activities Center. “You have to be sensitive to people’s heritage and culture.”
Protest THIS! received $1,650 in allocation and co-sponsorship funds through the SA this year, Gargano said.
“My own personal feeling is probably the SA will need to step up and incorporate new guidelines (for student groups receiving funds),” Gargano said.
Allen also said he hopes the SA will look into funding allocated to Protest THIS!
Patrick Preston, Protest THIS! editor in chief, defended the paper’s decision to print the ads.
“When you put out a publication, you can’t base your decisions on whether it would offend someone,” Preston said.
Preston said most students’ reactions to the paper have been positive, but many people have had problems with different parts of the paper.
“I’m trying to address concerns,” he said. “I’m really trying to help people understand.”
Preston said it bothers him that people only absorb the offensive material when reading his paper.
“People can sample several ideas that they find humorous,” he said. “Most people have a tendency to find what they find offensive and look at that alone.”
Preston said he plans to attend the Rally Against Racism Monday at 4 p.m. on the H Street Terrace. The meeting was organized by Allen and ASA President Patrick Ladesma in response to the paper.
“I’m hoping people will respond to this,” Allen said. “I want people to realize, no matter how you cut it, racism is wrong.”
Preston will step down May 1, because he said the job might conflict with his role on the Colonial Cabinet.
“My involvement in Protest THIS! would be impacted if I continued to work on it,” Preston said. “I don’t want my job (on the Cabinet) to jeopardize the editorial decisions of Protest THIS!”
The April edition featured an opinion article from a fictional member of the Colonial Cabinet.
Gargano said he was pleased with the maturity displayed by Preston’s resignation.
“It showed his integrity, professionalism and understanding that people make mistakes,” Gargano said. “He’s willing to make amends.”
Allen, a member of the 1996 Colonial Cabinet, said Preston’s presence on the Cabinet concerns him.
“When you go into (Colonial Inauguration), you’re going to deal with a lot of different cultures,” Allen said. “I hope it will be a growing experience for him.”
Preston also serves as the SA’s vice president for undergraduate student policy. Both Preston and Golparvar said a separation exists between Preston’s roles in the SA and on the newspaper.