A Response to Kilson
To the Editors of The Crimson:
In response to Professor Kilson's most recent set of verbal abuses against the Black undergraduate community here at Harvard, I have several things to state. Let me begin by saying that I have made no reference to statistics or records (having none immediately available, to me), and what I am about to say comes from the little pool of knowledge that I have been able to acquire in my 19 years.
Professor Kilson, you do not want Black students to be thumb-suckers; you would rather see us become behind-kissers, a euphemism for a term with which I am sure you are familiar. You are advocating that we curry the favor of the white population here on the student level, so as to prostitute its value in order to gain the status and levels of achievement which you assume all Blacks at Harvard to be desirous of. Professor Kilson, I for one am too proud to kiss anyone's behind, regardless of what ends (no pun intended) such action might afford me. However, your very argument as to what is preventing the Black student body from achieving what it should is ludicrous. You say that we are held back by holding on to one another. Funny, sir, but you and Shockley see eye to eye on this point, along with the South Boston racists who oppose bussing on the grounds that any child, no matter how bright, suffers from limited capabilities when he is placed in a classroom situation with black children. You are, in effect, telling us that the black community is a detriment to itself; perhaps you should collaborate with Moynihan on that issue--after all he espouses the belief that it is the black family here in America which is at fault for black society's misery and poverty. To a rational human being, these statements sound absurd, yet you, Mr. Kilson, adhere to these beliefs faithfully. I would like to tell you that my Black brothers and sisters here at Harvard have done nothing but bolster my pride in our potential as a people, and in my potential as a Black individual. They have adopted me, instructed me, and cared for me ever since I've been at this college. So have some of my white brothers and sisters--yet, Mr. Kilson, my friendship with these white people is not the result of a blood sucking leech relationship to people I want to "get something out of," but a true human relationship of sincerity and honesty between people, not Blacks and Whites. I make no pretense to the people through whom I wish to make connections; I need not be sneaky and underhanded simply because I am Black. White students who are not friendly with one another have business-like study groups, organizations, and conferences with each other and various professors--just because I am Black, does this mean I cannot? Does this mean I won't succeed unless I approach all white people hidden behind the veil of brotherly love and friendship like a conniving Sammy Davis Jr.? Spare me, Mr. Kilson, I will not stoop so low. As for your concept of success, take a look at all of the past few years' graduates presently enrolled at Harvard Law, Business, and Medical Schools, Stanford Law School, Duke Medical School, University of Chicago Law School, and a long list of others just as impressive. Let me tell you now that these are people whom I knew, who helped me as a struggling pre-freshman and freshman, and who "hung out" all or mostly black. Are they failures by virtue of this social pattern? No, sir, you are a failure to me because you signify the disunity and lack of cohesiveness in our community. You seem to genuinely relish your semesterly denunciations of Black students before the public. You are not proud enough of you, convictions to bring your criticisms to the Black student body, yet attempt to shame us in the public view by treating us as caged animals whose behavior can be pointed at through cage bars. Well, sir, it won't work. We Black students are too proud of who we are to allow ourselves to be taken in by shallow, uninformed criticism. You make us laugh as we read the contents of your article, yet we cry inside to see that there are Black people among us whom we want to be able to, and should be able to look up to, yet are unrighteously and disrespectfully abused by. One positive result of your article, however, is the outrage and fearless unity which I see surfacing within the Black community as they read, because these are the very qualities which will lead my people to their ultimate liberation. Gabrielle Nicole Virgo '80