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Inaccurate caption reveals unfair stereotype

I really must take exception to your caption accompanying the photographs of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston [March 19].

In an age of continuing debate over the rights of minority and ethnic groups (much of which is published in the pages of The Tech), I find it appalling that you would characterize the 70,000 spectators in attendance as "drunken."

We all know of the harm caused by unfair cultural stereotypes, and The Tech does a fine job of reporting the abuses due to stereotypical characterizations of Hispanics, Asians, blacks and Native Americans, as well as those of women and homosexuals. Yet you take license to call the parade spectators drunk for no other apparent reason than their real or fancied "Irishness."

I know that the stereotype is unfair because I was at the parade and I was not drunk or even drinking. The other MIT student that I saw there with his father was not drinking either.

The people in your photos did not appear to be drunk or drinking (particularly the six-year-old). There were certainly many people there who were drunk, but I also saw a lot of very happy, sober people enjoying the day with their families.

You see, the magic of that beautiful spring day for me was that I was finally able to realize on a significant level that you don't have to be drunk to be Irish.

I've known for some time that you don't have to be Irish to be drunk, but the freedom to accept my heritage without accepting the negative stereotypes of others is a new one for me, and I feel your caption threatened that freedom.

Kelly K. McDonald '91->