September 26, 2005
Washington, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomes the decision of the Daily Tar Heel, The University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill campus newspaper, to dismiss daily columnist Jillian Bandes. On September 13, Bandes published an article calling for racial profiling, and specifically for Arabs “to be stripped naked and cavity-searched if they get within 100 yards of an airport.” The paper however, stopped short of apologizing for the racist remarks it published in its paper.
Bandes, a junior majoring in International Studies, sited several Arab sources, which were later refuted, in support of racial profiling, adding, “I don’t care if they’re being inconvenienced. I don’t care if it seems as though their rights are being violated.” Racial profiling is necessary she argued, and every Arab should “get sexed up like nothing else.”
On September 19, the Editor of the Daily Tar Heel issued a statement confirming that Bandes was dismissed from her position as columnist since the publication of the article. The statement went on to explain that the paper received numerous reports that the quotes used in the article were taken out of context. The Editor added, “The Daily Tar Heel regrets the errors.” To Read Bandes’s article and the statement by The Daily Tar Heel click here
While ADC welcomes the paper’s decision to dismiss Bandes, it is also imperative that the paper apologizes for publishing the article, which calls for the violation of Arab-American human and civil rights. ADC understands and respects the newspaper’s first amendment rights to free speech, but the article falls with the category of hate speech. Bandes’s insensitive comments demonize the community, and undermine the cooperation and trust between Arab Americans and law enforcement agencies.
As such, ADC calls on the Daily Tar Heel, which has a responsibility to its readers to provide fair and balanced reporting, to apologize for running the article and to adhere to more rigorous standards for publishing.
September 26, 2005