Anti-divestment sentiments do not support apartheid
In response to William T. Jackson '93's column on divestment ["No more Twinkies: Gray in black South Africa," May 11], I feel that several points need to be made.
The results of the referendum show that less than half the students who voted supported divestment. The margin of difference between support and disagreement was 9.5 percent. The no opinion vote (18.3 percent) was almost twice that amount. These factors support the contention that no consensus or mandate on which MIT should act has been established.
Despite considerable activism in support of divestment (including protests and the passing <>
out of pro-divestment papers) and the lack of activism on the other side of the issue, this small margin of victory is all that could be obtained. Arguing that Paul Gray should act on this small difference in the strengths of the two sides is ridiculous and self-serving. Based on the mixed results, there is no basis to <>
any claim that the undergrad-<>
uate population is advocating divestment.
I would also appreciate it if Jackson and his allies stop trying to shove their "morality" on the rest of us. What they see as moral, others do not. It just so happens that Mangosuthu Buthelezi, chief of South Africa's several million-member Zulu tribe, is opposed to sanctions and divestment because the black people are the ones who would be hurt. Does this mean that he and all <>
of his black South Africans are immoral? Thousands of blacks from neighboring countries travel to South Africa to work. Are they immoral also? Obviously not. In the future, Jackson should try to base his arguments on facts, not some alleged "morality."
Another classification is necessary. Opposition to divestment does not equal support for apartheid. This is a cheap political ploy aimed at slandering those against divestment. After all, <>
do those aforementioned South African blacks who are opposed to divestment really support apartheid? Of course not. Those of us opposed to divestment see other ways of helping to end apartheid.
The South African government has removed some restrictions and has talked with black leaders. Remember, they did release Nelson Mandela. They are making progress. The US government and American companies should act to encourage this behavior. Divestment would simply take away all this potential influence.
Don't distort this argument. Don't shove your "morality" at us. Don't make false accusations that those of us opposed to divestment are big fans of apartheid. Most importantly, don't tell us that MIT should be acting in response to inconclusive referendum results.
Steven Lustig '93->