This video of spoken word artist Mark Gonzales is in response to the hateful and racist advertisements purchased by Pamela Geller and her organization the American Freedom Defense Initiative on city buses in San Francisco, New York, and elsewhere. The ads read: “In a war between the civilized and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” This is of course extremely offensive, dehumanizing language that should not be left unchallenged. Mark’s piece, “When Savages Unite,” and our video are therefore a challenge.
While hate profiteers do have the right to freedom of speech, we also use our right to speak out against the historical and ongoing targeting of communities of color. The use of the word “savage” in Geller’s bus ads and elsewhere throughout US history, as is seen in the targeting of indigenous people and communities of color, is offensive to all of us. It desecrates the memories of those whose lives and land were taken as a result of imperialism and conquest. We stand against hate, then and now, and see these attacks as targeting all of our communities.