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Dickens column was racist

I would like to first express dismay that you even gave Kevin Dickens a column in The Tech. He made certain sweeping generalizations that are bound to fill your feedback column for the rest of the year. I would like to offer my feedback in the form of an open letter to Mr. Dickens, as I have known him since R/O week 1981:

Dear Kevin,

My, your column in Friday's Tech was outrageous. You said that "the best-looking black women at MIT seem to prefer white men." I was talking with a good-looking black woman when I read this article and she did not appreciate that statement. Kevin, did you mean to imply that any black woman at MIT who shows interest in black men is not good-looking? Hell, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if you have some algorithm for determining it, that is fine, but don't commute your theorem to tell MIT that all of our beautiful black women are racist. (Furthermore, do not generalize just because one particular woman who shows no interest in you happens not to restrict herself to having only black friends.)

Then there is your comment about some of the black students not knowing about some of the black students not knowing about blacks, basing some of your reasoning on geography. Well, Kevin, you know that I'm from Minnesota, and that there are few blacks in my region of the state. Yes, I was out of touch with the black community the three years I lived in Minnesota, but when I came here and made an effort to establish rapport, you, Mr. Dickens, greeted me with abuse. But I did not worry, because my real friends, who already knew you from Project Interphase, told me to ignore anything you said. They were not concerned with who was "truly black." (And I surely didn't hear any "white-boy" crap when you needed help on those problem sets, did I Kevin?)

I was not pleased that you referred to the USA as "the second most racist nation on the earth." Be glad that you live in this "racist nation," Kevin, there are many countries where you could not complain about the racism. Many countries in this world kill dissidents, eliminate unwanted races or send hordes of refugees to live at war-torn frontiers. I'm not saying the US has not done similar atrocities, I have seen an Indian reservation. Yet we have no laws in this country that differentiate us by race or religion. Yes Kevin, I'm proud to be an American, as are most blacks.

You mentioned that you were not pro-feminist. I define feminism as being for the equal treatment of women in society and being concerned with issues that affect their welfare. If you are not a feminist, then you must be sexist. Is this why you want all of the black women at MIT to ignore all men except the blacks? Are you going to reciprocate by ignoring all non-black women? I don't think so; I've heard your lustful comments about many a white woman. (Incidentally, many feminists are male, many feminists are heterosexual, and quite a few of them are black and proud.)

MIT may not have the best sports teams, but the guys who play enjoy it, which is what really matters, no? You wonder why Varsity does not want your awesome talent? Neither your letter nor your character lends any clue that you might be interested in the kind of teamwork necessary to play on any of MIT's intercollegiate squads.

You said, "If you have any questions about your Identity come ask me." So, Kevin, now you are the judge of what it means to be "truly black." Does this mean that all blacks are homogeneous? You must be some kind of a race fanatic. Maybe you should put together a club of all who agree with you totally and call yourselves "True Blacks: The Disciples of Dicky." I thought you did not like fanatics. I guess you are a hypocrite, hunh?

You mistitled your article. Rather than calling it "Social life hard for minorities," you should call it "Social life hard for Kevin Dickens." If you're concerned about your social life, maybe you should exercise some tact. Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate. If you badmouth everyone like you did in your column, you will end up with no friends at all. No MIT black woman is going to talk to you now, after all, you said that only the ugly ones could possibly be interested in you. Well, I've got news for you, there are no ugly black women at MIT, just those who are not interested in you. And as for the black women who have black boyfriends, you must think those guys are "Oreo white boys," right Kevin? Please do the MIT community a favor and keep the racist and sexist generalizations to yourself. We don't want to hear it.

Tobe Z. Barksdale '85->

(Editor's note: The Tech wrote the headline to Dickens's column.)