In a recent Crimson article ("Friends Crusade for Marrow Match," news, Sept. 22), the former director of the Civil Liberties Union of Harvard, Jol Silversmith '94, argued that the campaign to find a bone marrow match for Alan Kuo '85 discriminates against white students. While we share Mr. Silversmith's concerns with protecting civil liberties and remedying discrimination, we do not agree with his conclusion that efforts to register Asian-American and other minority bone-marrow donors are discriminatory.
As The Crimson's coverage of the donor registration drive noted, Asian-Americans and other ethnic minorities have a more difficult time finding compatible bone marrow donors than do whites. The dearth of minority donors has placed Mr. Kuo in a life threatening situation; he is only one of many minorities who could be saved by a matching bone marrow donation.
Given these consequences, it is appropriate for the government, the Harvard community, and the friends of Mr. Kuo to organize and support efforts to register minority bone marrow donors. In doing so, they simply recognize the medical fact that matches for minority clients are more likely to be found among minority donors.
The desire to focus the registration drive on minority students is not discriminatory. Its organizers do not treat individuals differently on the basis of any prejudice, nor do they use pre-conceived notions or stereotypes to grant preference arbitrarily to some prospective donors over others.
Mr. Silversmith complains that the current effort is unfair to whites. It would be truly unfair, however, if registration efforts were curtailed due to unfounded complaints of discrimination. --Micah S. Myers '00 Jal D. Mehta '99 Co-Directors, Civil Liberties Union of Harvard