Former middleweight boxer Rubin Carter, whose life story is the subject of the movie Hurricane, spoke to a crowd of more than 300 last night, interspersing his message of love with controversial comments about interracial relations.
Carter, who received three life sentences for a 1966 triple murder he did not commit, was exonerated after spending nearly 20 years in prison. He was released only after a young man read his autobiography and mounted a successful campaign for his retrial.
Carter advanced a message of racial harmony and love during his speech, which was sponsored by the Harvard Bookstore, the Harvard art museums and by DuBois Professor of the Humanities Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on behalf of the African-American Studies department.
"I am living proof that what unites us is far more powerful than what divides us--love," Carter said. "Hate put me in prison and love busted me out."
In discussing the need for a new approach to racial issues, however, he made several controversial comments about interracial relations.
According to Carter, there exist six "tribes" of people--white, black, yellow, red, brown and "mixed." While it is natural for these tribes to compete, Carter said, this competition brings out the worst in people.
Carter said he forsees the dominance of the "yellow tribe," but said that they have not yet reached that status because of the white tribe's "massive destructive forces," which can be used as a threat.
"They'll drop nuclear bombs on you in a minute," he said. "Everybody knows that, too."
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