Letters to Editor, Opinion

Letter to the Editor: On ‘alleged racism’

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Michael Mishkin responded to my article “Racial Incident Stirs West Campus” by asking, “What about the other side of the story?”

I presented it to the best of my ability. I wrote “Officer Brady claims that Stone refused to show his ID card, and that he acted belligerently.” No one seemed to dispute the fact that “Stone was clubbed and pushed by security guard Brady,” only why this occurred. It seems to be that even if Brady were right, it was no reason to fly off the handle. If you really want to know more about the “other side,” ask the Administration’s investigating committee, which, I wrote, “have refused to comment on the matter. They have at this time refused to release any of the written statements by the eyewitnesses, by the police, or by the West Campus Staff.”

Some people don’t believe that racism exists. They prefer a journalist to write “Racism allegedly exists.” Although unemployment among black workers is twice the rate as among white workers and although more blacks than whites have been killed and shot during campus demonstrations, these people prefer not to see these facts as racist. There often is no real “other side.”

What does surprise me are the outright lies and distortions in your letter. Although I am accused of being biased and inaccurate, not one single fact that I presented as having occurred that night was denied. It’s nice to be able to be so vague about the “other side,” isn’t it?

Lie: a leaflet written Wednesday, Nov. 1, by some West Campus black students, not in SDS, called for a meeting that night to hear from eyewitnesses and plan Stone’s defense. If Mr. Mishkin really wants to know who was involved, he should have contacted me (he still can) at the Daily Free Press or at home. The same leaflet was reprinted the next day, with a few additions, and some SDS members helped hand it out.

Two distortions: Mishkin asserts that the people who confronted Burkett at West Campus were SDSers, and, he implies, they confronted Burkett over the details of Tuesday’s incident.

Fact: No one confronted Burkett over Tuesday’s incident, but rather over harassment of students by security guards in general.

Fact: Being in SDS myself, I know that only 5 of the approximately 15 people who spoke out against Burkett were in SDS. Why did you state that everyone disagreeing with Burkett was in SDS, when you couldn’t have known this?

You should be a little more concerned about possible institutional racism at BU. You heard Burkett say, “There are no grounds to suspend the two guards involved in the incident, pending the outcome of our investigation.” This kind of temporary suspension occurs in many cities around the country, when “police brutality” is in question. You should be more concerned about George Stone, whom I hope you will come to support at his trial next Wednesday morning, Nov. 15, at Brighton District Court.

It’s interesting to note that security guard Brady harassed five black men last year in Towers, according to Renne Daley, Towers resident. She was an eyewitness to Brady’s ordering these five students to leave the dorm after a party, even though they were accompanied by ten black women. According to Daley, he said, “I’ll take off my gun, and take you all on.”

I’ve also heard from other dorm residents that Brady is a “hothead.”

Think about this letter, Michael Mishkin; don’t take it as a personal attack, even though I’ve been frank with you.

James Sober

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