Racism article omitted mention

of LGBTQ groups’ contributions

To the Editor:

Judy Wang’s valiant attempt to explain race relations and recent offenses on campus in a single article sadly left out a large group that has been actively changing discourse within cultural groups: sexual minorities. Even before the anti-gay e-mail, LGBTQ students have been contributing their voices to dialogues centering on concrete efforts to change our campus climate. By not mentioning how this group of frequently marginalized students is working alongside other attacked and offended communities, a successful model for campuswide awareness and mobilization has been ignored.

In recent campaigns to battle bigotry on campus, Latinos, Asians, Blacks, Muslims, Christians, Jews and LGBTQ students have actively participated in a dialogue — sometimes challenging — about how to articulate our specific concerns to the wider student body. Beyond these communities, the Coalition for Campus Unity offers an unique opportunity for activists, journalists and all other student allies to come together in a movement to make Yale a more welcoming, equal and just place. We think carefully about how to be inclusive of the entire Yale population while making sure that our efforts do not dilute the message of individual groups. These are, admittedly, not easy conversations to have, as the dialogue is between diverse groups with many differences and even competing interests. Nevertheless, as responsible and respectful members of the Yale community, we understand that these conversations are necessary if Yale is ever going to become a place where all students can feel welcome. Yet too often in this dialogue, an important voice is missing: that of an apathetic majority population. Many members of that very group often list discomfort as the main reason they avoid these conversations on race, religion, gender and sexuality. However, it is important to remember that these feelings, at times, are shared by us all. Instead of being reasons to keep students silenced, anxieties about differences should exist as boundaries to be broken.

We hope the growing movement of solidarity and respect within diverse settings, like our undergraduate population, will spread so that movements of change will include participants from the whole University — not just those offended in the past. While concerted efforts from the YPU and YCC have been made to encourage dialogue on these issues, all students need to start engaging with topics that affect Yale and the places Yale will take us. By starting these dialogues today, we will start redefining the concerned student as simply a Yale student.

Joshua Williams ’08

Nov. 29

The writer is a founding member of the Coalition for Campus Unity and the community action chair of the Black Student Alliance at Yale.

YCC is helping provide campus forums for debate on racism issue

To the Editor:

We applaud the News’ coverage of student groups’ efforts to examine racism on campus (“Groups Focus on Racism,” Nov. 28). We believe that while there is plenty of room at Yale for students of every background with more interests than you can imagine, there is no room for hate. Despicable acts of intolerance like the offensive anti-Muslim posters put up anonymously two weeks ago show the need for an open dialogue about hate and tolerance on campus. We hope to spark this conversation by co-sponsoring a forum next week with the Muslim Students Association to address these issues. We encourage other student groups who wish to play a role in this dialogue to consider co-sponsoring this forum or to attend one of our weekly council meetings, Sundays and Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. in WLH basement.

Emery Choi ’07

Steven Engler ’07

Zach Marks ’09

Nov. 28

Choi is president of the Yale College Council, Engler is vice president, and Marks is secretary.