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Confi-Guide Is Racist



To the Editors of The Crimson:

So now the Confidential Guide sinks to simple racism. Professor Orlando Patterson's Foreign Cultures 46, Caribbean Societies, is described in dialect:

"If Jah does truly guide all man, praise Jah Rastafari, yah mahn, and if Jah is truly merciful, everknowing, Selassie the First, King of Ethiopia, yah, praise Jah, then Jah will mercifully guide all Harvard students to stay away from this course, praise Jah.

"If you be taking this course, mahn, you no way be jammin'. You be most unhappy, mahn, like if the sheriff set your dreadlocks on fire. The reading be too long, mahn. Every page is drier than the Sahara and longer than Bob Marley's sacred dreads.

"He [Patterson] talks dogma, if you know what we be saying...Listen to this Orlando rap, it's hard to take him to seriously, if you know what we be saying. If you be looking for days o'rays, then you be looking in the wrong place."

Whatever the race of the author, this is inexcusable and repulsive. Why not ridicule other courses and professors in a Yiddish inflection or in a Japanese accent?

Is it that those responsible for the Confidential Guide don't realize how shocking and vile it is to write this way in this country about a Black professor's course on a Black society? Or is it that they don't care?

I am ashamed that this has happened at Harvard. The editor and staff of the Confidential Guide owe Professor Patterson a public apology, and they owe one to the rest of us in the Harvard community as well. Robert Nozick   Porter Professor of Philosophy

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