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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The Point: Response to racism

Published: March 7, 2008
Section: Opinions

It’s amazing to me that the students at this school are more willing to defend white men against allegations of racism then they are willing to defend racial minorities against, you know, actual racism. Not one but two angry responses to my article about Jordan Rothman’s racist article appeared in the Hoot this week and both of them were so off the mark that I felt, once again, that I had to respond.

First of all, I never said that Jordan Rothman was a racist. I said that he wrote a racist article. And while saying racist things is, frankly, a pretty good indicator that someone is racist, I would never pass judgment on someone’s character like that. I don’t have to. I know that what I’m saying can stand on its own because it’s right.

Rothman and Gay’s attempts to turn this incident into an injustice on the level of Hindley or Blackjerry are entirely self-serving and ridiculous. In the articles published this week, both of them try to paint Rothman as a martyr, someone who’s valiantly defending the minority opinion in a sea of “liberal propaganda.” I don’t have a problem with Jordan Rothman as a person, but he is not a martyr. He is someone who wrote and has written offensive, ignorant things and who is unable to understand how the natural response to them might be about anything other than people attacking him because of his political beliefs.

These sentiments are dangerous and not because it’s leading us to the hyper-PC socialist society that Rothman seems to think comes right after saying you won’t tolerate racism. I’ve got news for Rothman: this is free speech. This is the “debate” which he says he values. I can handle the heat, but Rothman can’t. So he got out of the kitchen (by the way, even though Rothman is “retiring from controversy,” I’m definitely not and I’m taking requests).

Furthermore, I think it’s telling that everyone embroiled in this is white. Where is the minority perspective on this? Doesn’t the idea of three white kids arguing over race bother anyone else? This isn’t personal: I’m not doing this to attack Rothman, and this controversy shouldn’t be about him. It should be about discussing social issues and defending the people about whom Rothman has such unfortunate misconceptions—people who don’t even have a voice in this discussion, despite the fact that it is all about them.

But still I’d like to reiterate: no hard feelings. And both Rothman and Gay should feel free to come over if they want to watch Birth of a Nation together or something.