Go Party posts racially charged song

By Jeremy Thompson, Staff Writer

Students questioned the GO Party after a racially charged song appeared on its Web site Monday.

The song features music with a voice-over encouraging people to support and vote for the GO Party. The voice speaks with a strong Latino accent and makes references to people who want to change the “socio-economic dynamics of small South American countries,” perpetuating other stereotypes of Latinos, said Dhiraj Chand, former Associated Students of the University of Utah Diversity Board director. Chand now serves as the diversity coordinator for the Residence Hall Association and is an active participant in the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs.

“The problem with songs like this is that they reinforce racial stereotypes,” Chand said. “With the current climate that we have in society, this does nothing but continue the stereotypes that are out there.”

Jeff Sbaih, vice presidential candidate for the GO Party, explained that the song was put up in error and had not been approved by party leadership. One of the GO Party’s platform points is to promote social justice on campus.

“We are sincerely sorry about this song, and apologize to anyone that was offended in relation to it,” Sbaih said. “It should not have been posted. We understand why people would think the song is racist, and it is inappropriate in every way. We are truly sorry.”

Chand, an unaffiliated student in the elections, said he was visiting both the Revolution and GO parties’ Web sites when he heard the song.

“It is incredible that a party can post this on their Web site,” Chand said. “I am shocked. This is totally against the GO’s platform of social justice.”

Sbaih said this incident reaffirms their stance supporting social justice.

“Had there been education, this would not have happened,” Sbaih said. He said the students who posted the song on the Web site did not realize it was offensive. The song was removed later that night.

Kariann Hibbard, the elections registrar for ASUU, said there is no specific rule that governs students’ choice of songs during the elections.

“The only requirement candidates have is to follow all university policies and local laws,” Hibbard said. “If there is a party that wants to file a grievance about this, I would deal with it at that time. At the current time, no action will be taken.”

Chand said that candidates for elections should be held to a higher standard.

“These are students that are running for office,” Chand said. “Of any student on campus, they should know better.”

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