Friday, February 25, 2011
Pro-Life Ad Stokes Gotham's Racist Ire
Sometimes, when a story comes together, it really tells another story.
Take, for example, the decision Thursday by a billboard company to remove a controversial pro-life advertisement in New York City.
Ever since the billboard went up, featuring a blank-faced black girl in a frilly pink dress, and the blunt assertion that "the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb," liberals have been howling.
Howling about the blatant racism. Howling about the exploitation of children. Howling about the hateful rhetoric directed at helpless black women. Howling about the temerity of right-wing Texas zealots to post such a bigoted thing in the heart of Manhattan's uber-hip SoHo neighborhood.
The Truth Hurts
Here's Part "A" of the story.
This past Tuesday night, Lamar Advertising set up the 29-foot-high billboard on a low-rise building near the exclusive loft apartments of urbane movie stars and hedge fund managers. Wednesday morning, sponsors of the advertisement, a non-profit called Life Aways which is funded by Heroic Media, held a press conference in New York to explain why they were making such a bold ethical statement in such an ultra-liberal community. They were joined by members of New York City's religiously conservative clergy, including evangelical Harlem minister and former congressional candidate Michel Faulkner.
You'll recall an earlier post of mine which discussed the horrific abortion rate in New York City, and how almost 60% of all pregnancies to black New Yorkers are terminated by abortion. It's this form of clandestine eugenics, practiced under the guise of female empowerment, that the Texas-based non-profit and its New York sponsors wanted to highlight.
As advertising campaigns go, this one proved to be relatively short-lived. After hearing word that workers at a Mexican restaurant beneath the billboard were being verbally assaulted by passers-by infuriated by its pro-life message, Lamar Advertising decided to take it down. Two days after putting it up. But by doing so, Lamar has fueled the flames by giving more media exposure to the pro-life movement than its liberal detractors had intended.
Pro-abortion activists just can't catch a break. That's Part "B" of the story.
To begin with, Lamar has come under some suspicion for yanking down the billboard so early into its run. And their altruistic effort to protect restaurant workers holds little credibility. New Yorkers aren't exactly bereft of street-smart savvy. How many SoHo residents would think to blame the wait staff at their local Mexican bistro for the content of a completely unrelated billboard attached to the same multi-tenant building?
Second, for all their pride in being tolerant and open-minded, having New Yorkers react so viciously to this one billboard smacks of the very hateful rhetoric they accuse conservatives of perpetrating. What part of the billboard's message isn't factual? A 60% abortion rate for a particular race in one of America's most progressive cities sounds pretty heinous to me. What's wrong with pointing this out during Black History Month? How funny to hear some self-professed hard-core liberals actually complain that their indignant left-wing brethren are abdicating basic decorum regarding free speech in their responses to this billboard.
And then there's the mother of the girl portrayed in the ad. She has joined the furor, indignant that her child's image was used for such a disturbing message. What's curious about this little sideshow, however, is the fact that the mother had intentionally sold her daughter's image to a stock photo company. She had signed-off on the customary legal acknowledgements that the stock imagery taken of the girl could be used anywhere by anybody. Did the mother take advantage of her daughter by selling her image to a graphics company for unknown purposes? What a parallel to the bigger picture here, lady. Welcome to the real world.
In fact, speaking of the real world, let's cut to the chase: what part of this picture has elicited the deepest emotional backlash? The part about 60% of black pregnancies being aborted? No. The part about black pastors from New York City joining in support of the billboard? No.
It's that some tourists from Texas had the audacity to remind sophisticated New Yorkers that abortion is murder. It's not about the supposed morality of a woman getting to choose the medical procedures she undergoes. It's not even about the morality of educating women on how they can avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place.
Liberal New Yorkers hate it when cosmopolitanism doesn't obscure reality.
Who's the Racist?
You see, black-on-black shootings in urban America's toughest ghettos trouble liberals for a brief moment when they hear about them on the news. But comparing the gang violence killing America's blacks to the profitable, self-indulgent abortion industry strikes at the soul of abortion's wicked double-standard. Think about it: if 60% of black youngsters were being slaughtered on the meanest streets of Harlem or the Bronx, who'd be yelling the loudest for something to be done?
Which gives us the second story, told by parts A and B.
In advertising terms, this billboard hit a home run: it was on a prominent space in a celebrity neighborhood in the world's media capital. It was targeted at an audience whose very inability to ignore it would foment the word-of-mouth and press coverage necessary to propel its profile into the pop-culture stratosphere. Now, a world that until Wednesday had never heard of Life Always, or that 60% of black pregnancies ended in murder in New York, knew about both. And could hear the inane blather of left-wingers corroborate the discrepancy between how abortion rights are good for minorities.
The fact that this billboard lasted only two days hardly diminishes the cost of what should have been its three-week run. Indeed, Life Always and Heroic Media have told two stories from one billboard. Rumors that Lamar may not even bill them for it only adds icing to the cake.
True to form, Letitia James, a liberal black New York City councilwoman from Brooklyn, exclaimed "we won!" after learning that the billboard would be coming down.
Yeah, right, Tish. Guess again.