GAMIT Misguided in GoalsIt is chilling that we now live in an environment where insensitively chosen comments are labeled by some as possible hate crimes. The behavior of those involved in the vandalism of the Tau Epsilon Phi house is certainly reprehensible. The list of crimes committed warrants the condemnation of the perpetrators. But the ensuing fireball of public outrage defies reason, especially since that outrage is focused not on the numerous criminal activities, but rather on the choice of a single word, "queer."
The fact of the vandalism should be the target of whatever outrage people wish to vent. What was written is largely irrelevant in this case, especially since you have to be looking for a homophobic slur in the expression on the sidewalk to find one. I have heard no complaints about the use of the term "nerd," nor do I expect to, presumably because either people agree that they are nerds, or if they disagree, simply ignore the characterization. In the present case, it seems reasonable to suggest that the term "queer" deserves the same treatment. The politics of victimization are clearly in control.
Gays, Lesbian, and Bisexuals at MIT wishes to cast this incident as a serious attack on lesbigay individuals in a misguided attempt to promote its own goals. The incident at TEP was many things, but it was certainly not a serious attack on anyone. Suggesting otherwise only serves to desensitize people to real hate crimes.
James W. Reiner '94