The advertisement has generated pain, anger and outrage among students of color on campuses nationwide. Despite the national outcry surrounding this ad, The Daily Tar Heel has chosen to inundate our campus with its inaccurate and hateful message.
The arguments put forward are flawed and contradictory.
For example, Horowitz asks whether reparations should be paid by the 3,000 black slave owners in antebellum United States without acknowledging that the majority of black "slave owners" purchased slaves because it was against the law to free them. Free blacks had no other way of securing the freedom of relatives, friends and loved ones but to buy them from their white masters.
Horowitz also claims that only one in five whites was a slaveholder in the South. Not only is the statistic inaccurate (see the 1860 census), but it is misleading as the people who owned slaves weren't necessarily the only ones to benefit from slave labor. Slaves were hired out to yeoman farmers to harvest crops and perform other chores, and overall slavery has arguably provided the South and the nation with its economic foundation.
Finally, Horowitz claims that black Americans should be grateful for the "350,000 Union soldiers who died to free the slaves" when Abraham Lincoln himself in a famous letter to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley wrote: "My paramount objective in this struggle (i.e. The Civil War) is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."
Our government has made formal apologies to Native and Japanese Americans for the crimes perpetrated against them, while offering nothing to the descendants of black slaves. Far from an apology, Horowitz argues that blacks owe. In his twisted mind, blacks sat idly by waiting for "good white men" to free them. By this reasoning, Jewish Americans (Horowitz included) owe Germany a debt for releasing their ancestors from concentration camps. Obviously, such a proposition is patently ridiculous.
The genocide that was American slavery parallels the carnage of the Holocaust, and the war fought to end it remains one of America's bloodiest. Yet Horowitz pretends that the sacrifice was one-sided. Throughout the mid-1800s, thousands of blacks lost their lives for freedom. A century later, millions sacrificed their lives for rights they had been systematically denied since emancipation.
However, the ignorant rants of a narrow-minded racist are not our primary concern. As African-American historian John Hope Franklin once said, "We must never fall victim to some scheme designed to create a controversy among potential allies in order to divide them and, at the same time, exploit them for its own special purpose." Thus, the recent campaign of students of color is not about Horowitz, but about fighting hate.
The Daily Tar Heel's decision to publish Horowitz is only one expression of racism among many at UNC.