Campus Life intuitively obvious

The time is right: social justice at MIT

It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. As an institution we are standing in reflection and grief after too many deaths of our students and employees. Nationally from Ferguson to Baltimore, we are grappling with large scale racial and class injustices. I was asked to contribute to this ‘Intuitively Obvious’ column, and it is a good time for us to consider how best to care for each other, our community, and for ourselves.

This summer will mark my tenth year here at MIT. As I think about our social justice work, I am reminded of a quote from Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world.” I have come to realize that it is only so long that the same small group of people can continue to help keep students and each other safe, functional, productive, and whole. I believe we need more citizens, more commitment, more thought, and more institutional infrastructure to bolster the efforts of the few incredibly dedicated and talented staff, students, alumni, and faculty working to create positive change.

Some of the most important work that I do is in supporting those who fall within the margins of the marginalized. People are often surprised to learn that so much of the community building I offer is with LBGTQ self-identified people of color, women, people with disabilities, and international students. I have such respect for them — especially those who have told me that they are alive today because of the work we’re doing. Despite losing their tuition funding or all their support networks after coming out to their friends or family, they have found the space and the courage to love or to be who they truly are, even in the face of harassment and discrimination in these very halls.

We all hold a collective responsibility to shape the future of MIT. So today I ask us these challenging questions:

If we are to fulfill our mission “to work with others and bring knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges” and “to work wisely and effectively for the betterment of humankind,” then how do we, as an institution, work to ensure that there are more black men in our colleges than in our prison systems?

What would it take to ensure that all women of color on our campus shared the same level of self-esteem and self-confidence as their peers and colleagues?

With students and faculty that have ties all over the world, what does it mean for us that there are 80 nations that criminalize homosexuality, seven of those where it is punishable by death, or that there are 32 states where you can still be fired for being LBGTQ identified?

How do we address the fact that roughly one in four females and one in seven males in the US will experience sexual violence, even here at MIT?

How do we acquire more accurate data on, offer more support to, and track the progress of our transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming students?

What would it take to have our staff and faculty match the diversity of our undergraduate student body?

How can we change the fact that based on student quality-of-life survey data, LBGTQ students, students of color, women, and international students are significantly less satisfied here, some even reporting that they feel less safe on campus and more isolated than their majority group peers?

What would it mean to have more trained, experienced, and qualified leaders in social justice helping to shape our future?

As I plan social justice efforts, I keep hearing (mostly from those with majority group identities) that MIT is not “ready” to talk about privilege, especially white privilege. I think that we are. At this time in our nation’s history, we have a responsibility to talk and to act, to undo and eliminate racial injustice as well as sexism, heterosexism, cis-gender privilege, and other forms of oppression. As Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “the time is always right to do what is right”.

Now, I know that we have made some strides forward. We should take pride in these. We have added gender-affirming surgeries to our health insurance policy. We are looking to add gender-inclusive housing options and more gender-neutral restrooms across campus. We have created an Institute Community and Equity Office and broadened resources and staffing in Violence Prevention and Response and in Student Support Services. We have several offices and student groups that focus on supporting various aspects of people’s identities, and those groups are making more connections with each other. We have created Employee Resource Groups, included diversity-related awards in our recognition programs, and host an annual MLK scholars program and Diversity Summit. This list could go on.

But if “diversity” is listed as one of the four main initiatives on our homepage, why are there still so few resources available for these efforts? How can we help that same small group of volunteers striving to move mountains with regard to equity, inclusion, respect, justice, and campus climate? What would it look like if we understood, valued, and talked about “diversity” in the same way that we talk about cancer, global initiatives, or energy?

Imagine what could happen if, today, each of us thought about one area of identity or social justice where we are less comfortable — nationality, religion, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, size, ability, age — then leaned into that discomfort and read an article, talked to a friend, listened to a podcast, or watched a video to learn more. What if we each took action regarding something we had learned? What if we could then challenge an internal bias that we hold, offer an educational lens to a degrading joke, or intervene in a micro-aggression that we witness? Yes, this work is messy. It is uncomfortable. It is in everyone’s and in no one’s job description and academic pursuits. It is relatively unclear. But if we make the time and effort, dedicate resources, learn more, and invite someone to join us, then eventually we all move forward.

This winter we organized a peaceful protest and panel discussion about if and how Black Lives Matter at MIT. Following the event I made a list of “the ten racist things I saw while planning an event about race at MIT.” And here’s the thing: I’m on that list twice. Sometimes the hardest and most important aspect of this work is how we transform ourselves along the way. That includes being honest, compassionate, accountable, and patient with ourselves and with others. Because there is so much work to do. We put this event together in just two weeks and then 430 people showed up. The momentum is here. The time is now. Remember, “the time is always right to do what is right.” We collectively own the responsibility to shape the future towards more respect and caring for one another. I look forward to continuing this work, and I hope you will join me.

Abigail Francis is the Director of LBGT Services at MIT.

44 Comments
1
MH '13 over 4 years ago

Thank you, Abigail, for all the work you do 3

2
Kristoff Paul over 4 years ago

Could it be that Doctors are aiding and abetting a mental disorder by performing sex reassignment procedures? When is the society as a whole going to protest children birthing children? Shouldn't the black community stand up and be counted on this? If whites do it would be seen as RACIST. More abortions this year then population of America 100 years ago is a sin. Should standards be lowered to accommodate minorities? Are the unintended consequences of reduced standards a blanket thought that ALL MINORITIES are LESS QUALIFIED? Should rape or incest be protected by not requiring the disclosure of ID of a 13yr olds rapist? Are universities properly diversified? A like number of Liberal and Conservative professors to encourage the once encourage exchange of thoughts, ideas and viewpoints! Something is seriously wrong when Americas leaders openly LIE about what took place in Benghazi - followed by the anarchy in Ferguson that has become a PAID PROTEST similar to what took place in Florida with the governments encouragement of the Black Panthers to incite riot, protest and civil disobedience!

3
Freedom over 4 years ago

Quote: " how do we, as an institution, work to ensure that there are more black men in our colleges than in our prison systems? "

Translation: " How do we, as an institution, further abolish meritocracy, increase discrimination against whites and Asians, and create a weaker, more stupid institution for all! "

You've done a good job of it so far, leftists!

Kristoff Paul, you're right on the money! All that property damage in Ferguson was indeed a paid protest (largely by billionaire George Soros) that was encouraged by the mainstream media (New York Times particularly) and the federal government. Both institutions are largely at fault for the burnt buildings and robberies that have occurred (in addition to, of course, the black criminals roaming the city, which the police no longer has the authority to jail because it would be discrimination).

The mainstream media and the university system are both dead in terms of helping form a stronger population and more sustainable country. They're just echo chambers that simply reflect what some ivory tower administrators and DC bureaucrats want to talk about, and most of the articles read like satire nowadays.

4
Donald Spitz over 4 years ago

The 80 countries are right. I think homosexuality should be criminalized. Homosexuality is a crime against God and against the Holy Bible. After reading this story I know why God wrote:

Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: :26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: :27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

5
Anonymous over 4 years ago

White, cis-gendered males are apparently so privileged that they are over-represented in suicides at MIT.

MIT is stressful enough; now people get to be hounded about their so-called "privilege".

6
Anon over 4 years ago

This article is nonsense. Is The Tech running out of useful things to publish?

7
GM '08'15 over 4 years ago

The responses give to this article is exactly the reason why we have to have this conversations. Your comments are homophobic and racist. A much nurturing conversation has to be developed at MIT to help individuals understand each other. This close mind approach by commentators are exactly the problem. Big assumptions are made and no recognition of the problem is seen. These comments made me sick to my stomach.

As an MIT alum that study both my undergraduate and graduate school at MIT, I think a real conversation should start within the school. It is quite needed.

8
Freedom over 4 years ago

6- Yes. The Tech has banned conservatives and moderates from writing in its newspaper, so only lying Communists remain. Just about every single article in this newspaper is a desperate attempt ("global warming!!!" "rape culture!!!" etc.) to argue for more government, because The Tech is a newspaper owned by slaves of the government, who unthinkingly join moral panic after moral panic, on command. The Tech would be OK with increased rape, crime and poverty so long as it consolidated government power. One of their current efforts (pushed by the NY Times, among others) is arguing that "oppression" against transgendered people is caused by people like you and thus requires the government to steal from you and reduce your liberties further (as the writer points out, you are required to pay for gender reassignment surgery). The Commies will likely win this fight like they did with sluts, feminist women and homosexuality: a good, free society is hard to maintain and easy to destroy. This despite that transgenders are mentally ill people, often with congenital disorders. Next up is pedophilia acceptance.

Enjoy your communism, and make sure you love it and celebrate it! Join Obama as he celebrates Caitlyn Jenner's transition to a female and encourages more men to explore their trans side! (But psst, don't be surprised if Caitlyn Jenner commits suicide or releases a porn video in a few years.)

5- Well done. You've intuited something. Something feels wrong about all these arguments about "white privilege," taking blacks out of jail, mass immigration from third world, etc. but since all you read is Communist media you don't have the vocabulary to describe it. What could it be? Answer: masculine white males, especially skilled laborers, are more likely to argue against increased government, so they present a threat to the system. Thus, they must be first insulted, then excluded, then harassed and, finally, once the public has gobbled up the propaganda, genocided. This has been the consistent pattern throughout history in Communist countries, and all the warning signs are happening. Get ready for some good old genocide! Keep your powder dry.

And, please, don't commit suicide-- better to go down with a fight.

4- Yes, Christianity is a better religion than progressivism. But stop copy-pasting comments loser.

9
Daniel Clavijo over 4 years ago

The previous responses to this article are ridiculous, obscene, and inappropriate. Creating a welcoming community and diversifying the student and faculty populations is not the death of meritocracy. The goal is simply to create an environment where any and all qualified individuals are welcome not just those that come from white, upper-middle class families. The issue with privilege is that those who have often fail to recognize that they do. A student from a privileged background might say that they have earned and worked for everything they have and that they were never given handouts, but this statement is only true to an extent. They had the privilege of focusing on their studies because their family could afford a tutor, or a private school; because their family could afford food; because their family could afford to pay for a babysitter for their siblings so that they did not have to babysit them; because they never heard there parents speak in hushed and worried voices of whether they could afford rent. Those that have these privileges are usually also the ones who are familiar with the world of higher education, who have been told about Ivy League schools, who have that uncle on UPenn admissions. This gives them an advantage (the advantage of awareness) over those who may not have grown up with as much privilege and only heard of MIT (or any college other than their community college) their senior year of high school or worse never heard of it at all. In turn, top colleges become a society of like-minded privileged individuals who think the world owes them everything for existing. This environment is off-putting and unwelcoming to anyone not from this background. The push for equality is a push to make it clear that you dont have to be white, upper-middle class to go to MIT. Its not lowering the bar, its looking at others who reach the bar but dont come from this typical, cushy demographic. The inequality we see now is a product of systemic racism, and it is our job to fix it, not by lowering the bar but by accepting that there are individuals that reach the bar that we have willfully ignored because they dont come from our preferred demographic. This article pushes for the revival of complete meritocracy rather than a meritocracy mired by classist, racist, sexist, cis-sexist, and homosexist undertones.

Thank you Abigail and keep up the good work!

10
Freedom over 4 years ago

7- The only way to not be "racist" or "homophobic" is to have brain damage.

You are a spineless idiot. The fact that this makes you sick to the stomach shows you have a very weak constitution: you have the psychology of a slave, and it's no wonder you've given in to the Communist propaganda.

Quote: " A much nurturing conversation has to be developed at MIT to help individuals understand each other. "

Translation: " We need to find the conservatives and then libel them and purge them. And then we need to write tons of articles and lies in order to brainwash more people at MIT. "

Nope, we are not falling for it, you idiot.

11
Freedom over 4 years ago

Daniel Clavijo -

You are a spineless idiot with the ethics of paste. Notice you can freely post your dangerous stupidity under your real name (even getting personal accolades as a result), while conservatives far meeker than me must keep silent or post anonymously. Demonstrably, you are the person with privilege, so you should really stop making obscene dehumanizing arguments towards normal white people.

" Creating a welcoming community [...] is not the death of meritocracy. The goal is simply to create an environment where any and all qualified individuals are welcome "

No. This is factually wrong. Stop lying, idiot. All important universities, including MIT, practice affirmative action, which factually means that qualified white individuals are NOT welcome. How come it is necessary to say that a qualified white individual is "less welcome" than a qualified black individual in order to make a welcoming community? You have zero credibility and I look at you with utter contempt.

" classist, racist, sexist, cis-sexist, and homosexist undertones. "

You are a clown.

Best regards,

Freedom

12
Daniel Clavijo over 4 years ago

Freedom

Based on your comments, I'm assuming you are a straight, white male, maybe of some wealth. This makes you a very privileged individual indeed. I invite you to consider, just for a moment, that others may not have been treated the same way you have because they don't have the same socially privileged position you do. Maybe through this lens you may gain a greater appreciation for the points being made even if you don't agree with them. Also consider that views opposing yours are not actually, or necessarily communist. The views being expressed are actually a call for greater freedom: the freedom to be comfortable with who you are and to have the same social standing as everybody else. This may seem to you as encroaching on your rights because you have always experienced a superior, more privileged position than minority groups and are now concerned because others are calling for the same rights you enjoy. I would like to inform you that the gaining of freedom by others does not limit your freedoms; it merely takes away your ability to limit others' freedom by imposing your beliefs on them. Please educate yourself on social issues, politics, and psychology before you engage in discussions on these subjects, and please realize that your beliefs are not facts they are merely opinions.

P.S. If you truly advocate for your beliefs and stand by them why do you hide your name behind the guise "Freedom". If you truly hold these beliefs you should be proud to have them bear your name. I'm proud of my beliefs and so have them bear mine.

13
EMG over 4 years ago

It's important to think about how we contribute to our community and whether we're actually creating safe spaces for those around us. This article is a great reminder to be conscientious and thoughtful in our everyday lives. :)

Abigail, I really appreciate everything you've done for the MIT community, especially all of your work with the Rainbow Lounge.

14
Freedom over 4 years ago

Daniel Clavijo,

" the freedom to be comfortable with who you are and to have the same social standing as everybody else "

Those are not freedoms I respect.

If you are a criminal, you should not be comfortable with yourself.

If you are failing at living a fulfilling life, you should not be comfortable with yourself. That is dishonest and irresponsible.

If you do not respect your parents, you should not be comfortable with yourself.

If you do not contribute to your community, you should not be comfortable with yourself.

You claim "the freedom to have the same social standing as everyone else." And then you argue that you are not a Communist. If "the freedom to have the same social standing as everyone else" is not Communist, what is?

You should only be comfortable if you are living a virtuous life. You are lying and rationalizing; you are not being virtuous in the least.

You should not be comfortable, and you should not have the same social standing as those who tell the truth.

15
Alyssa N over 4 years ago

"We all hold a collective responsibility to shape the future of MIT. So today I ask us these challenging questions."

Thank you, Abigail, for taking responsibility and asking questions. Other the past year, the MIT community has dealt with some heavy blows. It's not that we have a responsibility to know how to fix every problem, but if we are part of this community of problem solvers, shouldn't we at the very least be able to think critically and not back down from challenging questions? MIT has a wealth of human resource that could be channeled to solve problems that aren't just scientific. But we have to ready ourselves as a community first. We have to start talking about and acknowledging our privilege (it's not just cis white males that have it, going to an elite school gives you privilege, too). We have to understand history and context with regard to what's happening at MIT and outside of our bubble. That's a long road in and of itself, and that road starts with challenging ourselves with questions like those asked in this article.

16
Me over 4 years ago

Abigail, you do amazing work that has helped so many people feel more at home. Keep it up!

17
DifferentGM over 4 years ago

Great article that is sure to make many people feel appreciation for what has been accomplished in making people feel accepted; and it will no doubt stimulate thought in whoever reads it.

These comments are.. I wouldn't call them "ugly" if they simply demonstrated opposing viewpoints, but one has invoked Bible passages explicitly advocating the murder of people who have done no one any harm. So, yeah, they're ugly.

18
Haley Cope over 4 years ago

I have rarely been so disheartened with a set of comments. Everything written above (save a few thoughtful voices) comes off as completely uneducated and intolerant. Each point above deserves its own mention. Feel free to ask for a bibliography of sources.

To begin, the issues of the trans community must be addressed. Ideas that this is a choice, can be encouraged by media or POTUS are completely unfounded. In fact, recent research points to actual biological differences in trans individuals! Your marginalization of these individuals leads to attitudes that directly cause increased rates of murder, homelessness, and unemployment. The ability to live and work safely is fundamental, and you all are destroying this with these attitudes.

Again, as with homosexuality, biological evidence can be found. As if the only way you can respect an individual is by understanding it is biologically rooted! If what you desire is a religiously governed nation where this is illegal, I recommend moving to countries similar to Saudi Arabia, where it is also illegal to have political parties, for women to drive, and owning unapproved religious materials. That is the reality of what you are proposing.

I can barely even begin to comment on the overwhelming amount of racism spoken above. It is astounding to me that lowering rates of incarceration for black men and women (for crimes a white person would not be jailed!), improving income and education levels, and addressing that POC are more likely to be murdered by police is equivalent to white men being "genocided." The fact that you are able to walk across campus and not be questioned about belonging, or being told you had assistance (though you truly did, as Daniel mentions above) is only one manifestation of this privilege, which is a well-defined concept used by sociologists. Taking this concept as an accusation is both immature, and perpetrates harmful attitudes such as "I am superior because I did not need affirmative action to be here." This is demonstrably false, and continues to harm our student body. Additionally, as mentioned above, we all have different privileges (I am white and go to a top university) and should all attempt to recognize them.

Due to the character limit, I am unable to address the other classist, sexist, and ableist comments.

MIT is stressful enough without feeling every day like you are lesser, unwanted, undeserving, and sinful.

19
Greta Lattanzi-Silveus over 4 years ago

First I would like to thank Abigail for all of her hard work towards making MIT a more accepting place. As someone who was and is personally affected by her work, I would like to point out that she does what many of the commenters here seem to have failed to do. Namely she recognizes her own privilege and use that knowledge to improve the institution rather than hide behind delusional notions of her own persecution. I experience privilege in a number of areas in my life, as we all do but we all have a choice about how we can use that privilege.

One of the hall-marks of privilege is that when we have it, we can chose to ignore it. As a white person, I have the choice to ignore the racism around me because it does not affect me as it affects others. However as a woman I do not have the privilege of ignoring the sexism around me because it is directed at me every day. As an LGBTQ identified person, I do not have the privilege of ignoring the homophobia and transphobia around me because it is directed at me personally. Recognizing privilege and oppression does not happen on it's own, it takes effort and education. You cannot expect to see the world from your perspective and recognize the ways in which it is unjust that do not hinder you.

No one here is criticizing cis, white, strait, upper-middle class, men here. They are not being persecuted, just asked to notice the ways in which their lives have been made just a little bit easier by the privilege that they have and to work with the rest of us to ensure the true meritocracy we all wish for. One in which being born into a given race, gender, socioeconomic class, or any category does not affect your chances in this institution and ultimately in the world. The first step is to recognizing that there is an uneven distribution of resources and opportunities in ways that are a lot more complex than the narrow definition of discrimination most of us use (for more on this I differ to comment 9).

The best thing I have ever done for myself was to take the time to listen to the experiences of others and learn about the ways in which I have unfair advantages. For those who think they have no privilege, I would encourage you to talk to someone who experiences it first hand. I think you will find that there is a world out there you always chose to ignore.

20
DifferentGM over 4 years ago

"Freedom"...

You said:

"...loser.... idiot. .... you idiot.... spineless idiot... your dangerous stupidity.... idiot....I look at you with utter contempt.... clown. Best regards, Freedom"

Okay, sorry about that, but having respect for others is a critical component of earning it yourself, especially in a debate. I do not anticipate responding to any future comments you make if you continue to address people this way.

For the record, that negative feeling you get? The negative feeling of exclusion that you believe is (and in some ways, admittedly, really is) being perpetrated against conservative-minded people? THAT is the EXACT feeling that this social justice activism is trying to address! Feeling excluded or worse on the basis of race, gender, whom you feel like dating, what you believe about your body, what you believe in general -- these are things integral to a person, and no one should be discriminated against on the basis of a harmless fundamental part of who they are.

I don't want to libel-slaughter any conservatives. You raise valid concerns about affirmative action and "privilege" ideology. Let me just say that the idea behind affirmative action is what Daniel said: that it is a compensation for unfair life factors that have unleveled the playing field so as to make the qualifications of some applicants APPEAR lower. The goal isn't to let an unintelligent underrepresented people in; rather, it is to compensate in order to allow equally-qualified people to be on a level playing field. Whether the system works as intended is a valid question (eg. race quotas are a terrible idea which is why they are banned), but I thought it would be helpful to make that distinction.

I agree with you that privilege is a concept which causes unfortunate strife. I would be all for a vocabulary change in describing these problems, so as to create a more constructive dialogue.

21
DifferentGM over 4 years ago

Freedom, one last point:

You express explicit concern that pedophilia and genocide are likely outcomes of the social justice movement. Well, for the record, the former is harmful to the obviously-unable-to-consent-child, and the latter is harmful in even more obvious ways, so no, no such policy could ever come from the desire to make more people feel welcome. Note that I've just soundly dismissed pedophilia and genocide as horrible activities that will have real, harmful consequences for real people if allowed unchecked. Now, can you please tell me the REAL, harmful consequences of treating all humans who aren't harming anyone else with equality and respect?

Sincere regards,

DifferentGM

22
Freedom over 4 years ago

DifferentGM,

I do not agree with you, but I respect your honesty. The reason I call people idiots or clowns is because (1) I truly believe they are clowns, and (2) I think they are hurting themselves and the people around them with their idiocy and dishonesty (they often lie to themselves). The reason I called the Christian commenter a "loser," is because he was copy-pasting the same comment on multiple sites. But of course I meant "loser" in the best possible sense, as I have deep respect for Christianity. And if being called a loser a couple times makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you have a mental illness. Anyways, I will address your first point for now.

" Feeling excluded or worse on the basis of race, gender, whom you feel like dating, what you believe about your body, what you believe in general "

If all races, genders and "sexual orientations" were the same, then you would be correct. But they are not. So a simple sweeping statement cannot be made in this way, unfortunately. We have instead to take an approach that relies on personal experience, trial and error, history, and so on.

For example, take gender. As a toy example, I strongly believe that women should be excluded from combat (in the military). I think it is barbaric to let women fight. Why?

(a) Women are generally far weaker physically than men. For example, the very strongest female athletes (top percentile) are just barely stronger than the median (non-athlete) male in terms of grip strength. It is true there is some overlap in physical strength-- the top 10 percent of women have about as strong as grips as the bottom 5 percent of men-- but it is small.

(b) Crucially, women are more likely to gain PTSD from combat than men. Their brains appear to not rebound as well from conflict. I can tell you I'd love to get into a light boxing match any day of the week, and I like taking a punch, but my sister does not. And I'm not an athlete.

(c) Study after study has shown women have weaker bones than men. They are thinner, have a weaker chemical composition, and are usually smaller. (Women are on average slightly shorter than men, but the differences in bone strength are more pronounced.)

I think it is barbaric for women to be in military combat. Thus I think women should be given the privilege to not have to sign up for the draft or ever serve in the military. It is the right way to do things. I don't care if it is discrimination.

23
Freedom over 4 years ago

(I could also mention that studies have also shown that women have less hemoglobin in their blood, less resistance to starvation, and so on. Young girls who dream of being an elite Navy SEAL should not have their dreams come true-- I don't care if a Communist comes up with a long theory about it making the young girl "uncomfortable," it's just a clownish idea. And, similarly, if a draft is required, the men, not the women, should be drafted-- I don't care if a Communist or Men's Rights Activists says this discriminates against men.)

24
Freedom over 4 years ago

Now DifferentGM, I'll go ahead and address your point about how organizations (such as, I claim, The Tech) exclude conservatives.

My deep contempt for political correctness is not because I am "free speech" or "inclusion" fanatic. My disgust with it is that it censors truth and replaces it with dangerous lies, for purely political reasons.

The problem Communists have is that their true philosophy is so broken, illogical and unpopular (very few people really believe that it is fair to give people an advantage due to the color of their skin) that they need very tight control of speech to maintain their state power. If not, the truth seeps out of every pore and they cannot maintain control. Hence, Communist social justice warriors are very careful to exclude anybody who challenges their philosophy.

Rape culture is a huge lie. Global warming is mostly a lie. Discrimination against women is a huge lie. Unfair discrimination against blacks is a huge lie (white privilege is fully earned). But saying this will get you booted out of most student groups, even if their purpose is discussing the relevant matter. Here are Dr. Dalrymple's words:

" When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to. "

25
Anonymous #5 over 4 years ago

" The push for equality is a push to make it clear that you dont have to be white, upper-middle class to go to MIT."

Whoever thought that? MIT is not Harvard or Princeton. If any ethnicity is associated with MIT it is Asian.

And from the time of Richard Feynman (who was barely middle class if that), MIT had a reputation for being egalitarian and meritocratic.

26
Anonymous over 4 years ago

Thank you Abigail for the courage to raise important issues.

I'm disturbed by the comments here - even if one disagrees with someone, there is a way to articulate your point of view. Freedom's comments here tantamount to hate speech and it disturbs me that this exists even at MIT. I believe the comments here justify the points Abigail makes in this article.

27
Freedom over 4 years ago

26- I called a dangerous idiot an idiot, and I called a (recently invented) lie a lie.

If you think that is hate speech that should be banned at MIT, I do not think you should be at MIT. I would support some form of punishment for you; as it is a first time offense, you should not probably not be expelled for this, but expulsion would possibly be on the table if you continue agitating against free speech.

I do not believe in free speech or open participation for those who agitate to destroy free speech. You are a disgrace to the veterans who have fought for the US.

28
Kristoff Paul over 4 years ago

Which anonymous R U?

To attack freedom mostly because you have a different opinion = only correct in your eyes, and want to silence opposing viewpoints as tantamount / bordering on "Hate Speech" just more PC which is but terrorism with manors!

Here are Dr. Dalrymple's words:

"When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to."

29
Anonymous over 4 years ago

Freedom, we call your words hate speech not because we disagree with them but because they imply the superiority of certain groups over others. For example, "white privilege is fully earned" implies that the advantages enjoyed by white people are due to some innate superiority. In addition to being utterly untrue, this is a direct and deliberate insult to many people. You have also made claims that homophobia is justified which is very hurtful to those how have experienced it in any form.

I explain this to you on the off chance that you are actually sincere in you string of nonsense. I think that it is far more likely that you are some troll just trying to annoy people by presenting a ridiculous caricature of a nut-job conservative. Either way, your comments are hurtful and have no place in this discussion.

We all have a right to free speech but with that right comes a responsibility to free speech. This responsibility requires that we engage in the world in a manner that is respectful to others as you have utterly failed to do. You are free to disagree but please do so in a way that is respectful to those you are talking to because no one will pay attention to a single word you say otherwise.

30
Anonymous over 4 years ago

The whole concept of "white male privilege" and the necessity of white males to recognize it is divisive and adversarial. If LGBTs need support because their families have disowned them and won't pay tuition (as stated in the article,) then go ahead and set up some extra support for them. What does that have to do with straight white males?

The invention of white privilege was designed to increase the relative position of minorities or marginilized by reducing the status of straight white males or whatever majority group you happen to choose. And what do I mean by "reducing the status"-- I mean by devaluing their achievements by saying they had it easier.

31
Justin Case over 4 years ago

The "invention" of white male privilege? please! Like what- the invention of class privilege, what would you say about the invention of Christian privilege? Doesn't exist?

Also, apparently it's 'Divisive and adversarial" (read:mean) to talk about privilege? Aww... so should we not acknowledge it because it offends the sensibilities of the privileged in society- quaint. I suppose we shouldn't talk about things like ability status as a form of privilege we wouldn't want to be adversarial to (temporarily) able-bodied folks, lest we upset them... I think many of you need wake up. Inequality is alive and well- just because you're oblivious or unfazed by it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I say KUDOS to Abigail Francis! Awfully sorry that you have to be treated like you are some kind of criminal for speaking out against oppression on the campus and in the world!

32
Anonymous 30 over 4 years ago

In reply to #31:

Way back in the 90's, before it became fashionable, MIT's campus was extolled for being LGBT friendly. We had, and still have, a fraternity which I understand was mainly for LGBTs--TEP. What is the "oppression on the campus" against LGBTs?

In the 90's, the language of MIT students wasn't infused with vacuous PC buzzwords like "privilege" and "microagressions". When you start using these words, it's like people stop feeling the need to make logical arguments anymore. If you want to talk about instances of harassment, unfairness, or insensitivity, go ahead.

The word "privilege" wasn't used in this way 20 years ago--I suspect it was a way to find a corollary to affirmative action. It's a strange construct, especially when it relates to LGBTs since there is no affirmative action for them. What is it supposed to mean--the absence of discrimination? Frankly, the switch from LGBT issues to race in this article was abrupt and clumsy. The author doesn't really talk about race except repeatedly mentioning white privilege. However, I would say that a good control group for the main hypothesis that racism is rampant at MIT would be to actually talk to internationals from Africa--people who aren't familiar with these PC constructs. Of those that I knew at MIT, I've never heard them complain about anything and they were perhaps the most positive about their experience of any MIT students I interacted with.

33
Anonymous over 4 years ago

". I suppose we shouldn't talk about things like ability status as a form of privilege we wouldn't want to be adversarial to (temporarily) able-bodied folks, lest we upset them.."

Uh...what do you achieve by talking about ability status as a form of privilege? How about you just talk about the need for more ramps on campus for wheelchairs, or the need for professionals to sign lectures to the deaf, etc.

34
Freedom over 4 years ago

29-

"Freedom, we call your words hate speech not because we disagree with them but because they imply the superiority of certain groups over others"

So, respectfully, you are saying that all speech has to assume that all groups of people have the same standing. (For example, you claim that one must say adults are not superior to children in wisdom, that one must say men are not superior to women in height and physical strength, and so on.)

So in your world, all speech must be Communist.

That's very interesting, you Communist. All people are equal in your world view, and nobody is superior to anybody else. That is an extremely stupid view, and I suspect that only people with brain damage really believe that.

Sorry, but some groups are superior to other groups (in different ways of course), and it is essential for me to say so. If we lie about that, we are just clowning around and shooting ourselves in the foot.

The greatest statesman of the 20th century, Lee Kuan Yew, who made Singapore from a poor, violent place into a rich jewel, said:

"The human being is an unequal creature. This is a fact. And we start off with the proposition that all men are equal-- In fact he is not equal, and they never will be equal!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8rPofi-AUw

He knew that difference races of people were not equal, and he adjusted Singapore's policies to account for that truth, so that all races of people in Singapore could be helped. I believe in helping all races, NOT pretending all races are equal. You believe in hurting all races, genders and sexual orientations so that you can pretend they are equal.

I do not believe in lies. I do not believe in "hate speech." I hope that makes you uncomfortable and kills the Communist delusions inside of you. Go to a religious church instead. It'll help you more than the secular one we call "progressivism" (which is simply based on growing the government as much as possible via lying).

35
Freedom over 4 years ago

The original author, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 29, 31 are reasons fascism and slavery (two things I do not like nor generally support, make no mistake) existed, a long time ago.

When people insist on believing that all people are equal and must be made equal, they become stupid. They do not realize that people have different abilities, behaviors and moral standards, and intuition helps us gauge this.

Some people are smart and should go to college. Some people are stupid and should not go. Some people are mentally retarded and cannot become smart and should not go to school at all. Some people are do-gooders and should be respected. Some people are parasites and should be insulted and shamed. Some people think inside the box and do certain types of labor better. Some people think outside of the box and should have freedom to develop their talents. Some people are talented at engineering, some people aren't-- and, guess what, talent is not equally distributed across different categories, such as gender and race. Some people are hardworking, others are undisciplined. Some people are infertile. Others are fertile. Some people are attractive (to most people). Some people are unattractive (to nearly all people), and often lack character as a result. Some people have character and should be given leadership positions. Some people do not have character and should be excluded from leadership positions.

But the Communist (or the "liberal") says no! Destroy all this folk morality that most people intuitively understand! Replace it with what quack "scientists" and "professors" say! Replace it with the stupid idea that men and women are equal, that gays are just the same as traditional people, that races are equal.

Communists, such as essentially all the writers are The Economist, The Tech and The New York Times, destroy, that is all they do, and they can't be talked out of it.

That is why Pinochet of Chile, a hero to many Chileans, enslaved Communists in labor camps.

When there is a parasite, one understandable instinct is to enslave the parasite.

36
Jerry Seinfeld over 4 years ago

I am obviously not Jerry Seinfeld, but this is a direct quote from an interview he did recently which is germane to this discussion:

My daughters 14. My wife says to her, Well, you know, in the next couple of years, I think maybe youre going to want to hang around the city more on the weekends so you can see boys. You know, my daughter says, Thats sexist, he recalls. They just want to use these words. Thats racist. Thats sexist. Thats prejudice. They dont even know what theyre talking about.

37
Concerned Citizen '17 over 4 years ago

Anonymous #5: I implore you to take a look at the demographics of any graduating class at MIT. I can assure you that white people will be the majority demographic each time. This is not meant to imply that upper/upper-middle-class white people should be "knocked down" in any sense - I think there are several commenters who simply wish for the same access to education to be given to those in the minority before and during the college application process. A person's presence at MIT is not invalidated by their privilege - they still certainly had to work hard to get here, and have to work hard as a student. Like Daniel Clavijo said, it just gave them time and/or energy to focus on working hard on a specific thing like their studies - something not everyone has the luxury to do based on circumstances they cannot control. That a system penalizes those who don't have this luxury and cannot gain it by themselves is very unfortunate.

Freedom: Imagine that every time you make a claim about biological inequality, parasitism, or mental illness, it must be backed up by at least two publications from scientific journals published within the last, oh let's make it a generous range and say thirty years. Because I would certainly like sources on quite a few of your claims.

Also freedom??? is not??? a starvation economy????

38
Anonymous over 4 years ago

Dear reasonable people, here is your friendly reminder to never read the comments. It's where trolls and assholes like to hear themselves talk.

39
Anonymous #5 over 4 years ago

"Anonymous #5: I implore you to take a look at the demographics of any graduating class at MIT. I can assure you that white people will be the majority demographic each time."

The demographics of the United States are majority white, so the fact that MIT is majority white does not imply that minorities don't have access to it. Regardless of this, the historically large numbers of Asians (around 1/3 at one point) make it hard to believe that people think that you have to be white to get in.

40
Read S over 4 years ago

Perhaps I should take the advice myself, but it was valuable advice for me for when the trolls pop up: "Sit on your hands, sit on your hands, sit on your hands."

41
Freedom over 4 years ago

36-- Correct.

I'm now posting a slightly edited version of comment 34 in hopes that it passes The Tech's censors. I am extremely disappointed in The Tech for removing that respectful comment; I believe that hurts the MIT community.

29-

"Freedom, we call your words hate speech not because we disagree with them but because they imply the superiority of certain groups over others"

So, respectfully, you are saying that all speech has to assume that all groups of people have the same standing. (For example, you claim that one must say adults are not superior to children in wisdom, that one must say men are not superior to women in height and physical strength, and so on.)

So in your world, all speech must be Communist.

That's very interesting, you Red. All people are equal in your world view, and nobody is superior to anybody else. That is an extremely stupid view, and I suspect only brainwashed people believe that.

Sorry, but some groups are superior to other groups (in different ways of course), and it is essential for me to say so. If we lie about that, we are just clowning around and shooting ourselves in the foot.

The greatest statesman of the 20th century, Lee Kuan Yew, who made Singapore from a poor, violent place into a rich jewel, said:

"The human being is an unequal creature. This is a fact. And we start off with the proposition that all men are equal-- In fact he is not equal, and they never will be equal!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8rPofi-AUw

He knew that difference races of people were not equal, and he adjusted Singapore's policies to account for that truth, so that all races of people in Singapore could be helped. I believe in helping all races, NOT pretending all races are equal. You believe in hurting all races, genders and sexual orientations so that you can pretend they are equal.

I do not believe in lies. I do not believe in "hate speech."

42
Freedom over 4 years ago

I'm now posting a slightly edited version of comment 34 in hopes that it passes The Tech's censors. I am extremely disappointed in The Tech for removing that respectful comment; I believe that the comment was true and relevant and that its removal hurts the MIT community.

--

The original author, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 29, 31 are reasons fascism (something I do not like nor generally support, make no mistake) existed, a long time ago.

When people insist on believing that all people are equal and must be made equal, they become stupid. They do not realize that people have different abilities, behaviors and moral standards, and intuition helps us gauge this.

Some people are smart and should go to college. Some people are stupid and should not go. Some people are mentally retarded and cannot become smart and should not go to school at all. Some people are do-gooders and should be respected. Some people are parasites and should be insulted and shamed. Some people think inside the box and do certain types of labor better. Some people think outside of the box and should have freedom to develop their talents. Some people are talented at engineering, some people aren't-- and, guess what, talent is not equally distributed across all categories, such as gender and race. Some people are hardworking, others are undisciplined. Some people are infertile. Others are fertile. Some people are attractive (to most people). Some people are unattractive (to nearly all people), and often lack character as a result. Some people have character and should be given leadership positions. Some people do not have character and should be excluded from leadership positions.

But the Communist (or the "liberal") says no! Destroy all this folk morality that most people intuitively understand! Replace it with what quack "scientists" and "professors" say! Replace it with the stupid idea that men and women are equal, that gays are just the same as traditional people, that races are equal.

Communists, such as essentially all the writers at The Economist, The Tech and The New York Times, destroy, that is all they do, and they can't be talked out of it.

That is why Pinochet of Chile, a hero to many Chileans, enslaved Communists in labor camps.

43
Freedom over 4 years ago

I'm now posting an edited version of comment 8 in hopes that it passes The Tech's censors. I am extremely disappointed in The Tech for removing that respectful comment; I believe that the comment was true and relevant and that its removal hurts the MIT community.

-

6- Yes. The Tech bans conservatives and moderates from writing in its newspaper, so mostly only lying Communists remain. Just about every article in this paper is a desperate attempt ("global warming!!!" "rape culture!!!" etc.) to argue for more government, because The Tech is a newspaper owned by slaves of the government, who unthinkingly join moral panic after moral panic, on command. The Tech, sadly, would support more rape, crime and poverty if it consolidated government power. One of their current efforts (pushed by the NY Times, among others) is arguing that "oppression" against transgendered people is caused by people like you and thus requires the government to steal from you and reduce your liberties further (as the writer points out, you are required to pay for gender reassignment surgery). The Commies will likely win this fight like they did with sluts, feminist women and homosexuality: a good, free society is hard to maintain and easy to destroy. This despite that transgenderism is a disease (like anorexia) and should be treated, not encouraged. Next up is pedophilia acceptance.

Enjoy your communism, and make sure you celebrate it! Join Obama as he celebrates Caitlyn Jenner's transition to a female and encourages men to explore their trans side!

5- Well done. You've intuited something. Something feels wrong about all these arguments about "white privilege," taking blacks out of jail, mass immigration from third world, etc. but since all you read is Communist media you don't have the vocabulary to describe it. What could it be?

Answer: masculine white males, especially skilled laborers, are more likely to argue against increased government, so they present a threat to the system. Thus, they must be first insulted, then excluded, then harassed and, finally, once the public has gobbled up Red propaganda, genocided.

This has been the consistent pattern throughout history in Communist countries, and all the warning signs are happening. Get ready for genocide! Keep your powder dry.

And, please, don't commit suicide-- better to go down with a fight.

4- Yes Christianity is a better religion than progressivism. But don't copypaste comments.

44
Freedom over 4 years ago

" Freedom: Imagine that every time you make a claim about biological inequality, parasitism, or mental illness, it must be backed up by at least two publications from scientific journals published within the last, oh let's make it a generous range and say thirty years. "

I can't really do that directly with "parasitism" and "mental illness," since these are value/opinion questions, not fact questions.

However, I can certainly do this with the biological questions, since these are simple facts. Please cite a biological fact that I've stated and I can provide studies to back it up.