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ADC Outraged by Pickens Advertisement

Washington, D.C. | January 20, 2010 | www.adc.org | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) strongly objects to the provocative and inflammatory images and overtones in a recently televised advertisement by T. Boone Pickens in his attempt to promote a Pickens Plan for natural gas as an alternative to imported oil. This advertisement opens with Mr. Pickens’ voice reading: “Go back to sleep America. The oil crisis is over.” These phrases are written first in Arabic and then are superimposed in English, with ominous sounding musical notes playing in the background, followed by images of men holding guns near burning oil fields.

Such characterizations of an entire people in a region of the world are inaccurate, offensive and outright discriminatory. They are intended to scare American Citizens into action at the expense of Americans of Arabic heritage or descent. They engender hate and perpetuate bigotry and ignorance against good and decent people. Such shortsighted portrayal for private gain by Mr. Pickens is nothing but, to put it diplomatically, erroneous stereotyping based on ignorance — a racist tactic that should be immediately rejected and the advertisement withdrawn.

The whole tone of the advertisement suggests that the foreign oil that the United States is dependent on comes only from Arab countries. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in fact, more imported oil comes from the Western Hemisphere – for example, Canada, Mexico and Venezuela.

ADC President, Mary Rose Oakar, said: “The misleading lettering and images in the advertisement are defamatory propaganda for private gain. They insult all American Citizens of Arabic descent and all the people of the Arab countries who are our friends. ADC supports a policy of energy independence, but it is unacceptable that Mr. Pickens is trying to gain support for his own program by reinforcing false stereotypes of Arab countries and their people to the detriment of all American Citizens, particularly those of Arabic descent.”

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NOTE TO EDITORS: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non sectarian and non partisan, is the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980, by former Senator James Abourezk to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States and to promote the cultural heritage of the Arabs. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.

The ADC Research Institute (ADC-RI), which was founded in 1981, is a Section 501(c)(3) educational organization that sponsors a wide range of programs on behalf of Arab Americans and of importance to all Americans.
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Contact:Haythem Khalil, media@adc.org, 202-244-2990