Vox Clamantis: Majority Fools?
By Isaiah Berg
Published on Friday, May 2, 2008
To the Editor:
In a recent column, Jordan Osserman '11 outlined his rubric for choosing Dartmouth's next president. Simultaneously, he outlined a dangerous shift in thought as to how we view people and measure their worth ("Minority Rule," April 30). Osserman pulls no punches. For our next president, he argues that "straight white men need not apply." I remain unconvinced as to why my white skin and sexual preference would have anything to do with how I would run an institution such as Dartmouth.
Using identity politics as a model for change, Osserman suggests that it must be a member of an oppressed group that leads reform against oppression. However, in the process of decrying injustice, Osserman constructs a fence. Associated with the oppressed? Then you are qualified to find a solution. Associated with the oppressor, even if only skin deep? Then sit down and shut up. You aren't qualified.
He concedes that a minority president will automatically understand the issues. Yet , isn't it also true that the most WASPy president in the world could possibly have a thorough understanding of the contentious issues confronting campus?
Am I partial to privilege because I am white? Am I an accessory to homophobia because I am straight? Am I too ignorant and closed-minded as a Christian from North Dakota to understand the issues confronting secular students from Jersey? I fear a world and a College that thinks so.