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Police Association flier has racist undertones

(Editor's note: The Tech received a copy of this letter addressed to the MIT Police Association.)

On Friday, Oct. 20, I was handed a flier from a member of the MIT Police Association on the steps of 77 Massachusetts Avenue. Although my predilection, without benefit of fact of background, would be curiosity -- even empathy -- I was frozen in my tracks as I began to read and comprehend [the Police Association's] message, both stated and implied.

As a member of the MIT community and an African-American woman, I felt both angered and assaulted. "Get to recognize them and steer clear." Who? Young (obviously black) men who might wear "black and red Adidas sneakers," "New York Giant Ballcaps," or "no definitive colors" at all? This description could fit my brother, father, nephew. . . any number of persons who live in the Roxbury, Dorchester, Cambridge, and MIT communities! How does one "steer clear?" Should one run the other way if a young black man (or woman?) fitting this description approaches? Or wait until they are close enough to read the insignia on the baseball cap, or even closer to read Adidas vs. Nike labels on the sneakers?

The signals are as subtle as a few lines of code concealed in an otherwise innocent looking computer program, and the message is as damaging. Certainly there is substantial evidence of crime on our campus, of all types, to warrant and substantiate your claims. In fact, the particular incident highlighted by your flier twice stated that "No (MIT) students were involved." Your demands, however legitimate, were diminished by the misdirected and racist undertone of your message. As for your request for respect, I say: to get respect you have to give respect.

Margaret Daniels Tyler->

Assistant Dean,->

Graduate School Office->