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On Separatism



To the Editors of The Crimson:

As a Black member of the Class of 1984, I am a member of the Black Students Association, and attended the first general meeting last week.

Although I was very pleased with the meeting on the whole, I was quite disturbed by one incident. This is when one BSA executive commented on the freshman class Blacks being seated at meals interspersed throughout the Union, rather than at exclusively "Black tables" as most have done in past years. He condemned this, and labeled it as a symbol of a "lack of solidarity." To this, many other members nodded their approval. I, however, represent a number of students in the meeting who disapproved of the brother's conjecture.

I do not think the freshmen's integrating with all of their fellow classmates is something that should be condemned, rather it should be applauded. It does not reflect the freshmen Blacks' lack of solidarity, but rather their open-mindedness about whom they choose to befriend. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of them, and have found that they lack neither a sense of racial pride, nor isolate themselves from one another.

Don't misunderstand. Sitting at a predominantly Black table is not a negative sign of separatism, racism or any such thing. Coming from similar backgrounds and a common history, Blacks almost effortlessly become friends with one another, celebrate a common culture together, and often eat meals together. Furthermore, because Blacks are still a discriminated-against minority at Harvard, as well as in America, racial solidarity is essential.

Still, I contend that the goal of full integration and eliminating prejudice must not be overlooked, both in the eyes of Blacks and whites. It seems as if the Class of 1985 does comprehend this goal, and I only hope that we, the upperclassmen, do not discourage them, or give them feelings of guilt by persuading them to break from their natural inclination to be color blind. Mustapha Khan Jr. '84

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