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Very Foundations

Surfing around the Williams web — perhaps I need a new hobby — I am consistently underwhelmed with the news and publication section for alumni. Not only is the most recent Alumni Review not posted but the section on Spectrum (a “monthly Newsletter highlighting activities of the Multicultutural Center and Alumni Networks”) is pathetic. I can understand why something like Spectrum might no longer be publishing (and why it was never really “monthly”) but I don’t see the point in keeping up issues that end in December 2002. Perhaps the best guess is that there was a May 2003 issue, but that that was never posted.

Strangely enough, although our household includes an alumna of color (would that be the appropriate PC phraseology?) we don’t receive it.

Looking on he bright side, however, there is material here to blog about! In the December 2002 issue, Stephen Collingsworth, Assistant Director and Coordinator for Queer Issues at the MCC (Multicultural Center) writes (p. 4):

Because of my background, I guess forget that through being white and living in the United States, I am the benefactor of a history and a country whose very foundations are based on the concept of entitlement and the idea that as a nation, we are not responsible for our actions.

“Very foundation”? I seem to remember something about democracy, freedom, separation of church and state, the rule of law and so on. The Framers of the COnstitution obviously failed to live up to the ideals embodied therein, but they surely deserve points for trying. Collingsworth goes on:

The very concept of capitalism on which the United States economy is based, quite proudly it seems, is rooted in that oppression: slavery. We fought and won a Cold War based on the idea that capitalism is better than the oppressiveness of communism.

It is hard to know where to begin with sentiments like this. Here I always thought that the Cold War had something to do with freedom. Would Collingsworth really rather live in, say, North Korea or Cuba?

In any event, I don’t want to get too political (read: boring) here, but whenever confronted with these sorts of ramblings from outfits like the MCC, I always go back to a simple question: In what nation on Earth are my daughters — of proudly mixed-race parentage — least likely to be treated different from other little girls because of the color of their skin? France? Germany? China? Japan? Although one could, perhaps, make a case from a place like Brazil, it seems that the obvious answer is the United States. For all its many faults, there is no country in which my daughters heritage will cause them so little (and none so far) heartache.

I would feel better about Williams and the MCC if this point, if not embraced, were at least acknowledged as plausible. But that would require a diversity of political viewpoint that Williams does not seem to have enough of.

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