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It is time to say "no" to our ugly side, time to fight sexism and racism

To the Editor:

Last Friday, the recent snow collected into pools. The wind ran around the Institute, ignoring what was going on inside. The first wave of tests were over. Friday was a perfect day to play tennis.

Seven people were playing outside near the bubble. They struggled against puddles, the wind and wild backhands. No one was playing for a Michelob Light. I doubt anyone kept score.

As I watched and walked and thought about picking up the game myself, a bottle rocket exploded near the net where a couple was playing. Naturally they were startled, but no limbs were lost.

A pair of Brothers chuckled<>


behind the glass of a fifth-story window. I wanted to scream, "What gives you the right?" I didn't though. Just some guys having a good time, I mumbled. They're probably cool. And they might launch a rocket at me.

Walking to the Institute, I wondered why I came to the Brothers' defense. Partially, I was intimidated (I don't carry bottle rockets on me). More importantly, I didn't want to admit what had just happened.

Those boys on the fifth floor committed a random act of violence against innocent people. They put a dash of fear into the hearts of the tennis players. What disturbs me is not the actual act, but the ability to commit the act.

Think of MIT. A woman singled out by an instructor and<>


told, "Don't touch the equipment, you'll break it." A joke. A woman's confidence in herself chipped away by a society that habitually chips away.

Think of James Williams. A bad piece of pork given to a future MIT Assistant Professor because he was black. The white boys laughed. No limbs lost.

I am a white American male. My forefathers didn't fight sexism and racism; they created the two. It is time to say "no" to our past. No more bottle rockets, demeaning humor, abusive names. Maybe someone in Kappa Sigma will have the courage to collect the bottle rockets in the house and use them to celebrate independence from the ugly side of our forefathers.

Douglas Sweetser '84->