The decision of whether to publish the article on the American Identity Movement posters was not a straight-forward one. AIM, and other groups that share white-supremacist sentiments, often see any publicity as good publicity. The Kentucky Kernel would like to stress that we condemn supremacism in all its forms.
We do not support the ideologies espoused by this group just as we are not fans of any organization on which we report. Rather, the Kernel endeavors to serve as watchdog of our institution and report impartially on the events which affect it.
We made the decision to report on the posters and the group behind them because we believe in the public’s right to information. We also believe in the power of constructive dialogue; the more we know about threats to diversity on our campus, the more we can collectively work against them.
AIM posters state that “diversity destroys nations.” We know that the opposite is true. Diversity is what built our nation and moves our campus forward. Diversity inspires growth in knowledge, growth in understanding and growth in more equitable ways of seeing the world. While we know this intuitively to be true, studies back this up. A literature review of five studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology concluded that diversity in neighborhoods increases prosocial behavior, identification with all of humanity, and likelihood to help strangers. On the financial side of things, a report from the Boston Consulting Group found that diversity in upper management of businesses results in higher net profits.
We know this, but why do so many others not? According to Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups in the U.S. is at a 20-year high. Unfortunately, the media has occasionally contributed unwittingly to this rise.
AIM members have in the past emailed news outlets to report their own posters in attempts to garner publicity. They were then pleased when these news agencies reported on them. At one point, AIM’s leader, Patrick Casey, landed a segment on the “Today Show,” which he credits as the reason behind a subsequent uptick in enrollment. Thus, the Kernel has been forced to look at our own potential for furthering these harmful ideologies.
By publishing the article, it seemed as though we were playing into this group’s modus operandi. On the other hand, not publishing the article felt as though we were withholding information at our reader’s cost. We published, but not without qualms.
It’s for these reasons that we see it as our responsibility to state outright our disproval of any message which discriminates on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation or ability.
When confronted with hateful messages, we encourage the student body to do the same.