The Tech Is Not Racist
News has reached me that The Tech has received a letter signed by several organizations - among them Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders, and Friends at MIT - that criticizes The Tech for publishing material harassing to minorities including gays.
I am sorry to hear that some people are offended. But I cannot remain silent and let the position expressed in that letter be mistaken for mine. I am a GAMIT alum, an out-of-the-closet gay employee, and a white man who had a long term relationship with a black man. With this experience, I do not presume to say what is racist. I only say what does and does not offend me personally.
If the letter truly represents the position of GAMIT, then it serves more to show that I must distance myself from that organization and the fights its executives choose to pick. It seems to me that the letter represents a call to arms to engage in some sort of just war on the evil Tech for being racist, as if racism were some absolute thing that is obvious to all. Speaking only from my limited experience, I have seen racism but generally from ignorant people who chose to ignore how they were unfairly pressuring other people with their thoughtless acts.
I have never seen The Tech to exhibit an editorial policy in favor of oppression of any minority. The MIT administration bends over backward to try and foster plurality and diversity. What I see from the letter signed by GAMIT is an attempt on the part of deeply offended people, who have only the force of their convictions, to try and establish a particular aesthetic and to call all else racist. Personally, I find the letter to be analogous to the sort of call for censorship by people who wish to boycott anything that talks openly about homosexuality because it is offensive to family values.
What is the intended outcome here? I would prefer an outcome where people become more sensitized to their actions and learn to listen to more sides of a discussion. I do not want to see the outcome where people feel they cannot express themselves for fear of being beaten up, whether that expression is holding hands with a member of the same sex publicly or drawing pictures of rhinoceros- shaped superheroes.
William D. Cattey '83
Senior Analyst Programmer