Like mad scientist eager to test their new creation, the staff insists they have the cure to a disease which does not exist. Race relations is far from "Harvard's biggest problem," as the editors would have us believe. Overlapping bureaucracies and random graffiti (from an unknown and potentially non-Harvard source) are hardly symptoms of racial disharmony.
No, the real malady here lies in the hopelessly misguided assumption that race relations can be engineered from above, that goodwill between students can be mandated by college administrators or Crimson editors.
Rather, such efforts frequently inflame rather than improve race relations. Many a university has attempted to micromanage the lives and beliefs of its students. And many a university has wished it hadn't. From Stanford to U. Mass. Amherst, the result is always the same: the more we regulate a community's racial climate, the more we alienate its members.
The staff regrets that organizers of first-year orientation seem to spend "more time on plagiarism policy than on introducing first-years to their new, ethnically diverse community." Its condescension aside, the staff obviously forgets that a first-year's initial days at Harvard can be intimidating enough without the stern warnings of the P.C. Police.
Ironically, the staff bemoans the "vague" and "uncertain" status of Epps' proposals but then indulges in hollow generalizations like the need for a "courageous" person with "charisma" to serve as Harvard's race relations czar. Perhaps the staff should consider someone like Robespierre. He had courage and charisma.
The real source of racial trouble at Harvard are campus organizations--like the Black Students Association and the Harvard Foundation--that pay homage to hate mongers like Leonard Jeffries. Extremism, after all, breeds antagonism. The editors foresee a "long road" to racial harmony. A long road, indeed, if we follow their prescription.
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