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Oppressed SWAMees deserve same treatment as minorities

Three cheers for Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and all the other individuals throughout history who have stood up against the prejudices of the day to make the United States of America a land virtually free of discrimination!

Although practically every member of every minority will state that prejudice still exists towards his (or her) particular group, he (or she) will also agree that conditions are much better today than they were at other times in history.

A new minority has now been created, though, and I would like to speak up for that group -- so called SWAMees by John Leo of US News and World Report, for Straight, White, American Males. Unfortunately, I belong to this group and am becoming increasingly aware of the hardships I am destined to face in life.

I know that throughout history it is just such SWAMees who have been responsible for many of the atrocities committed against blacks, homosexuals, American Indians, women, etc. But does that mean that it is up to me to pay for the sins of my forefathers by suffering reverse discrimination?

Many groups exist at MIT, and I applaud their efforts to fight unfair bias. GAMIT, the Black Students' Union, the Society of Women Engineers and many other groups provide a forum for students who share a common sex, ethnicity or religious belief.

Unfortunately, some of these groups are going overboard, and new groups are being formed all the time -- resulting in discrimination against SWAMees. I grow angry every time I walk past the Margaret Cheney Room in Building 3, a room that any female can use at any time that has a grand piano, a kitchen, showers and beds.

Of course, I wouldn't know -- I'm a male. Many of my friends are receiving substantial sums of money for their education because they are both intelligent and black, Hispanic, Indian or American Indian. I wouldn't know what this is like, either -- I'm only intelligent.

I guess by saying all of this I'm risking being called a racist, a sexist, a Nazi, and, yes, perhaps even a David Duke supporter. I

am none of these, although I still shudder at the thought of what would happen if I started a group to fight reverse discrimination against those of us who, unfortunately, have been born without minority status.

I support every group that works to fight oppression or prejudice, as long as it doesn't fight it at my expense. Am I selfish for demanding that I do not lose my rights so that others can have them? Maybe I am an idealist, but I do not think that such a trade-off of rights is necessary to approach true equality of all human beings.

So, what do I want? I want true equality for all human beings. I want all people to have a fair and equal chance to succeed. I want people to ask themselves two questions before they think of starting a new group to help "their" people.

First, is the group needed at all? Just because no Undergraduate Society of Ethnic Lesbian Engineers from Siberia (USELES) currently exists does not mean that one needs to be created. Second, does some other group already exist to carry out the same function? Think about it. I don't want to have to change my gender or sexual orientation just to get a fair shot at life.

Tim Wilson '93->