BSA Clarifies Bell Curve Position

To the Editors

The Crimson staff is to be commended for its dogged pursuit of clarity in the philosophies of campus leadership. However, we feel that The Crimson has more than overstepped its bounds in calling for the resignation of our president, Kristen Clarke.

In order to end the sensationalism that has occurred as a result of a misunderstanding (all of which has served to distract attention away from the real issue at hand), we, the Executive Board of the Harvard-Radcliffe Black Students Association, feel that it is our duty to clarify the response of our president and our organization to The Bell Curve.

First, in her original letter to The Crimson, Ms. Clarke listed five scientifically-backed arguments regarding the relationship between melanin and superior intelligence.

Based on the findings of these studies, Blacks, who have high levels of melanin, would be superior to whites. The purpose of the letter was not to endorse or encourage any kind of racial superiority as are the arguments presented in The Bell Curve. Ms. Clarke wanted all those who would quickly dismiss the theories regarding melanin to realize that they must treat the theories presented by Herrnstein and Murray in the same manner.

Had The Crimson adhered to the ethics of responsible journalism and placed Ms. Clarke's clarification of her letter in the context in which she made it, a lot of unnecessary debate could have been avoided.

Secondly, the demonstration that took place last Friday under the leadership of Ms. Clarke was designed to unite all ethnicities in the fight against racism.

Our organization's purpose was to display our displeasure with the arguments presented in The Bell Curve and to call on the Harvard community to collectively denounce legitimized oppression and promote individuality.

Lastly, we feel that the only way to combat such intellectual racism is by allowing the beliefs of truly qualified intellectuals to be heard.

Keeping with this belief, the HRBSA will be hosting a series of teaching in the coming weeks, in order to further the discussion necessary to prevent the spread of beliefs such as those presented in The Bell Curve.

In closing, we would like to reiterate that the mission of the Harvard-Radcliffe Black Students Association is to present intellectual discourse that will serve not only to uplift, empower and enlighten the Black community, but the greater Harvard community as well. Alison L. Moore '97

This letter was written on behalf of the Executive Board of the Harvard-Radcliffe Black Students Association.