Welcome to America: We'll Lock U Up!
Sez the ad:
"Welcome to America, home to 5 percent of the world's people and 25 percent of the world's prisoners. Let's build a better America together."Hmmm. The case raises all sorts of questions.
The ad suggests America would be a better place if it didn't lock up so many people. That is certain arguable. It is true that America locks up more people and for longer periods of time than any country in the world.
It is reasonable to assume that what offends the NAACP is that so many of these prisoners are black men. While black men make up roughly 6 percent of the population they represent almost 40 percent of prison inmates.
The NAACP is on record for "ending the war on drugs," which it sees as expensive, useless and disproportiately hurtful to black people.
No doubt if certain drugs were legalized in this country fewer people - and fewer black people - would be sent to jail. What the overall effect on society would be is certainly debatable. And it is a question that should be debated. But at the airport?
The NAACP maintains that the authority that runs the airport doesn't have the constitutional right to refuse their message. One wonders how the NAACP would feel if the Ku Klux Klan sought to run an ad at the airport that said, "Welcome to America, home to 25 percent of the world's prisoners, 40 percent of whom are African American. Go figure! Let's build a better American together."
Would the ACLU jump to defend the First Amendment Rights of the Klan? Probably not. And rightly so.
The ad minders at PHL apparently deemed the NAACP's ad at odds with the image they are hoping to project for the region and the country. Does the First Amendment oblige them to accept any ad message that any group wants to promote? I doubt it. But we'll see.