Tuesday, March 20, 2007

KUNM Show Promotes Discrimination

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A volunteer at KUNM posted an email to the volunteers' ideas list, with a link to a letter in the UNM "Daily Lobo"

KUNM Show Promotes Discrimination

The Program Director replied with some limp arguments about how the program in question, "Street Beat," is broadcasting programming that wouldn't be heard anywhere else.

Here's my reply:

I have a great idea!

Let's get some students, volunteers and community members with an interest in art for a project!

Let's send them out with dump trucks and shovels to collect feces from male bovine.

We'll have them bring it up to the 3rd floor lobby in wheelbarrows and smear it all around the lobby, leaving big piles for people to walk through!

It'll be an art installation.

True, people will slip and fall in it. It'll cause diseases. Lots of people will suffer, because the smell will drift all around the community. It'll affect progamming, staff efficiency and the number of people willing to either volunteer at, or contribute to, the station. We'll have a pretty bad reputation, all over the state. It'll be dangerous and counter-productive.

But we'll say it's art and freedom of speech, even though everybody else calls it a steaming pile of bullshit.

If Nazis broadcast that crap, someone would complain to the FCC and we'd lose our license. That's in addition to the protesters outside.

We're just lucky so few people even listen to a program that's produced by people who don't even interface with the KUNM community, staff, listeners or other volunteers.

People are DYING from hate speech. We need the air time for REAL programming.

As to outreach and inclusiveness, we need to look to our own house. When a former Volunteer representative to the radio board can sit in a General Meeting and blithely question the capabilities of a staff member, simply because that person has no bachelors degree, without any interest in that person's life story, AND that person is Black, AND it is said in the presence of another staff member who is struggling to complete said degree, how can we not say we've alienated the hell out of the community we're supposed to be serving? Prejudging people, based on tickets, economic privilege, ranks and credit ratings is just as oppressive as racism, sexism and homophobia. Nobody -- including me -- challenged that person in that General Meeting. It has been a source of constant shame and frustration for me, ever since.

I can't worry about the consequences. The State of New Mexico, PARTICULARLY Gay men in rural areas, NEED a voice, not excuses.

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