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Editors of The Crimson:
We, of the Harvard-Radcliffe Black Students Association, are writing in response to Vice Consul Duke Kent-Brown's speech on the situation in South Africa. We are outraged by the hypocrisies displayed by both the Conservative Club and its invited guest. The hypocrisy lies in bringing him in the interest of Freedom of Speech and in the title of his speech--"Time Out For Realism."
How dare the Conservative Club bring him under the guise of Freedom of Speech when his government denies Freedom of Speech to Blacks in South Africa, the Conservative Club refused a debate on the issues, and provided no guarantee that the audience's questions would be addressed.
The Conservative Club, in its defense of having no debate with the African National Congress (ANC), alleges that it is not a "legitimate body," according to a report in The Crimson. What constitutes a "legitimate" speaker or body? Who are the members of the Conservative Club to decide this? This qualification in and of itself is elitist and contradicts the principle of Freedom of Speech. In addition, in the question and answer period there was no guarantee that our questions would be addressed since we were forced to submit them to the scrutiny of Conservative Club members beforehand. Who is to say that they had not already determined the questions to be answered?
"Time Out for Realism" should have been entitled "Time Out for Racism." How dare the President of the Conservative Club state to the Black Students Association that we would find what Kent-Brown said "quite reasonable" when he merely defended the actions of his government and sought to insult individual members of the audience. In response to the comments of the members of the audience, he proceeded to call us "ignorant," "immoral," and of "terrorist" sentiment.
Furthermore, he began his speech by declaring that the problem in South Africa is not one of racism, but one of cultural differences. Clearly, this is a denial of the reality of racial conflict between minority whites and majority Blacks in South Africa. He sought to manipulate the questions of racism in South Africa by citing racist policies in the United States of which we, Blacks, are already fully aware and find equally unacceptable! By supporting these statements as "reasonable," the Conservative Club admits its own racism.
To the Conservative Club, perhaps this is a game--the South African issue can be seen as merely intellectual discussion. However, for us as Blacks, this is our lives. The racism in South Africa is of the same mold of the racism we face here everyday and the Conservative Club's inviting him here is a slap in our face.: Shannah P. Braxton Co-President, BSA Wendi Grantham Chair, BSA Political Action Committee Kyra Armstrong Secretary, BSA Political Action Committee
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