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Times Article Misrepresented Chocolate City

Times Article Misrepresented Chocolate City

An article was published in the New York Times on Oct. 25 that caused me considerable concern. The article, "Nation's Campuses Confront An Expanding Racial Divide," features examples of various college campuses where racial issues have had an increasingly divisive affect on students. Among the campuses and incidents featured were "a virulently anti-Semitic newspaper column praising the Million Man March" at Columbia University in New York, "a racist flier calling on whites to arm themselves against blacks" at the University of Southern California and what were described as "tensions" in Chocolate City at MIT. The "tensions" were not elaborated upon by the Times, nor were there any quotes from members of Chocolate City expressing an opinion that there were overt racial tensions on MIT's campus.

As a member of Chocolate City at MIT, I am flabbergasted at how Peter Applebome, the author of this article, (or his source) came up with this conclusion.

While no one can deny that there are racial problems on this campus, this article is extremely misleading in that it gives the impression that members of Chocolate City feel that there is some kind of overt, palpable racial tension at MIT. Chocolate City members are described as "men in t-shirts and black satin jackets." We are not the on-campus representatives of the Nation of Islam, nor are these articles of clothing uniforms any more than fraternity letter clothing are uniforms. I am insulted that Chocolate City would be grouped along with hatemongers and bigots.

The forum mentioned later in the article, sponsored by Chocolate City, was not just meant to "discuss ways to build on the energy of the [Million Man] march" but was also meant to inform the MIT community about the reasons for the march according to members of Chocolate City and give people a chance to voice their opinions for or against the march. I encourage people who have questions about the Million Man March and other controversial events to talk to members of Chocolate City before making up their mind about what our views are. We are a diverse group of individuals with a large range of views and opinions and do not think or act as a block. I hope that this letter clears up any misunderstanding caused by the article in question.

Harsha G. Marti '97