To the Editor:
We are writing you in response to your address to the community after Kwame Ture's visit here at Oberlin College. Not only do we feel your letter to be of extreme unprofessionalism, but we are also quite disappointed at the way you chose to handle the tremendous amount of pressure you had been getting from a very powerful Jewish community. We think it sad that you would take sides in an issue of which your political views are not only unnecessary, but also quite biased.
In your critique of Mr. Ture, you labeled him as a racist, and anti-Semite, an advocator of mass cultural genocide, and a "man consumed by rage." May we remind you, Ms. Dye, that Kwame Ture is a staunch supporter of Pan-Afrikan Nationalism, a former leader of the Black Panther Party, the former head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and a great leader in the urban, professional, student and everyday communities of Afrikan-American life.
In your letter, you failed to address any of the very positive things Mr. Ture discussed in his addresses. Things such as organization of the masses, the need for everyone to communicate, the importance of education, equality and the end of oppression, the need for a state where everyone is guaranteed a home and a right to adequate health care, and the fundamental right of South Afrika to be its own sovereign nation without manipulation or domination from outside sources. Your negative comments not only detracted from the knowledge which Mr. Ture shared with this college community, but those comments have also offended the many students, especially Afrikan, who believe Kwame Ture to be nothing less than a hero and great man.
We understand the pressure you feel as the spokesperson of Oberlin College, but the Jewish voice is not the sole benefactor of your empathy. It is your responsibility as director of this institution to listen to the views of the entire community, not to express the views of a single community. We feel that this letter is filled with ignorance and unfounded personal views. Had an Afrikan-American person in a position such as yours written a letter in support of the views of Kwame Ture, there would have been riotous reaction and an immediate demand for their resignation.
In your own words you state, "Let us celebrate our differences, and imagine together a community without bigotry." Our Dear President, please understand that through your letter, you have done more to divide, alienate and offend a campus already steeped in racism and bigotry. You have silenced an Asian community who just celebrated a week-long conference and who has been fighting for an Asian-American Studies program since 1970 by making the events of the past week utterly moot; you have detracted from the personal needs of students in the midst of massive budget cuts; and most importantly, you have offended a Black community who has repeatedly shown support for your vision and administration. All of this has come about for the sake of a Jewish community who has shown little concern for the needs of any community beyond their own. You have insulted a Black role model and defiled the trust you once shared with Black students. We ask that you question your own motivations and challenge your own words as you try and understand that your position is to show the diversity of Oberlin College and not one community's dominant power over any other. We would hope that you re-evaluate your words and see your slanderous comments as they truly are: RACIST.
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 18; March 15, 1996
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