Monday, May 14, 2007

For the sake of repetition.

This whole situation and post made me think of this song...

So, if you are involved in the Black community here at Harvard then in the past few days you've either heard of, been asked about, sent raging e-mails concerning or gotten a migraine over the Cabot Yard debacle. To save breath (or in this case, I suppose, potential carpal tunnel syndrome) I will not discuss the incident itself, but the backlash and the feelings that I have had myself.

As ironic as it is to write here, I'm going to have to go ahead and reflect on the evil that is the commenting system the internet. Why did Cabot residents feel so smug in their justifications? Why do idiots post annoying comments on often entertaining or insightful youtube videos? Why do assholes think it's okay to chastise Crimson editorial authors? All because they sit, comfortably wrapped in the warm blanket of anonymity that the internet provides. It's just like the grade school logic of the kid who has everything to say about you behind your back but doesn't dare confront you because they are too afraid of what a punch could feel like. I used to feel sad or defensive after reading things like the e-mails on Cabot-Open, but as I and the internet generation grow older I've become more hardened to this sort of insensitivity, immune to the broadcasting and wide acceptance of ignorance that seems to have pervaded our e-mail lists, forums and communities. What's most funny about this entire thing is the fact that, when a meeting was held to discuss the issue, to talk openly about feelings, to confront accusations of racism or justified stereotyping... the people who showed up were the ones slighted. Want to know why? Because most of the people who had something remotely racist to say or support were too cowardly to come say the shit that they proclaimed so bravely on the internet in person. Too afraid or ashamed to say what they had to say to black faces.


"It isn't fair that you label me a racist, you don't know me and you don't know anything about me, I live in a community of black people/grew up around black people/my best friend or girlfriend or boyfriend is black.. how dare you judge me without knowing me."
This bull is some of what a lot of people had to say at being called out on the fact that their reactions to the presence of ABHW & BMF on Cabot Yard had anything at all to do with race. And you know what? They're probably right. It was wrong of us to call them out of their names, to assume that they had racist intents or undertones in their e-mails or actions. To me it sounds like you, my poor distressed Cabot resident, were pre-judged by the whole of the Black community, without them knowing anything at all about you.
That sounds like prejudice to me, and you are justified in being angry about it.
Hooray. Welcome to one tiny fraction of what it is to be Black in America, let alone Black at Harvard.

And despite all of that ignorance and denial, what makes me the most upset about Harvard is the fact that, like JLee said in one of his e-mails, people here like to act like everything is in a perpetual state of harmony, that everyone gets along and that each person thinks that their House is their home. Clearly this is not the case. Unfortunately, whenever anyone tries to report otherwise, authority figures (who tend to shy away from their responsibilities as leaders on this campus when it comes to protecting some students but like to jump in when things get out of hand) are sure to quickly stifle these outcries. Instead of contemplating punishments or discussing why a person is justified in their anger (especially in this case) the move is instead to placate all parties with some useless e-mail or a crappy "everybody is right" analogy.

No, everybody is NOT right and if you say that to me one more time I might have to punch somebody.
But I'm black, so if I do, I might not graduate.

Them's the breaks, I guess.

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