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Rawlins' Vision Will Balkanize Harvard



The recent Crimson commentary by Lamelle D. Rawlins '99 ("We Need You: Diversity on the U.C.," editorial, Sept. 23) oscillates between irrelevance, contradiction and danger to the Harvard community.

The premise of her argument-that the "white male" dominated Council does not contain enough women and racial and ethnic minorities to represent "properly" Harvard's undergraduate community-is based on the racist and sexist assumption that students' principles and beliefs regarding student policy are determined by their sexual features or the hue of their skin.

Rawlins' belief that gender and race define Harvard students' ideas and identities will inevitably result in the intellectual balkanization of the Harvard community along racial and ethnic lines.

The second half of Rawlins' commentary demonstrates clearly her desire to have an Undergraduate Council comprised of a heterogeneity of skin colors but a homogeneity of beliefs (specifically, those ideas authored by her). She reveals that her call for racial diversity is merely a stepping stone for accomplishing her political agenda.

She admits that her call for "equal representation" will propel her stated legislative goals-which include the protection of transgendered students under Harvard's non-discrimination policy, as well as the defeat of motions both to make John Harvard the school's official mascot and to wish all students at Harvard a Merry Christmas. From her commentary, Rawlins' message seems clear: "If you're not a white man, The U.C. wants you (as long as you agree with everything that I say)!" --Alex Herzlinger '00

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