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Call for Retraction Not Professional

To The Editors:


I was infuriated by the lack of professionalism in The Crimson's editorial demanding that Black Students Association (BSA) President Kristen Clarke '97 retract her letter and apologize and resign ("Clarke Should Retract Statements," Opinion, Nov. 4, 1994). I was confused and concerned about the content of Clarke's letter, which mentioned various theories claiming Blacks are genetically superior to whites. But I took the time to talk to Clarke and realized that she did not share those views.

The point of Clarke's letter, as explained to me, seemed to be that racist opinions of white Harvard "scholars" are publicly debated while racist opinions of Black "scholars" are categorically rejected. I wish Clarke had made this reasoning clear to The Crimson from the start.

Still, The Crimson failed to report this reasoning. If Clarke refused to clarify her letter in an interview, it should have been reported. Because this was not reported, I can only conclude that the editors who voted for this editorial did not take the time to understand that Clarke is not a racist. In fact, the news story which ran on the same day as Clarke's letter said. "Clarke...said those views are not offered as her own." Why did the staff choose to ignore this?

In pompously calling for Clarke to retract her letter with an apology or resignation. The Crimson let its readers know that the editors are not interested in discovering what people actually think. Rather, they seek to stir up the campus and carry out personal vendettas. The Crimson's paternalism in suggesting that they have investigated the matter and know what's best for the BSA is offensive. I urge The Crimson to talk at length with people before passing judgment on them. --Elie G. Kaunfer '95   Chair, Coordinating Council,   Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel

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