Black Guide to Life at Harvard Debuts
Harvard University’s Black Students Association unveiled its long-awaited “The Black Guide to Life at Harvard” last month during an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Afro-American Studies department.
The 322-page guide is the first comprehensive publication on resources for Black students, containing a history of Blacks at the college, listings of professors, restaurants and hair salons, as well as facetious commentary about Black life at the college.
That commentary, however, turned controversial the day after the guide made its debut, with students complaining that one article in particular was offensive to Black women and victims of sexual assault.
The article, “Top 10 Signs Harvard Has Driven a Black Woman Crazy,” was written by the guide’s executive editor Marques J. Redd, and included the statements: “When she thinks falsely accusing people of rape is funny” and “When she can’t say ‘I love you’ without a restraining order,” the Harvard Crimson reported.
Redd responded to the criticism in an e-mail to the Association of Black Harvard Women explaining that the piece was not directed generally at Black women, but at an ex-girlfriend he says publicly and falsely accused him of rape.
Redd wrote he felt the article was justified “because of the personal pain I suffered due to false public accusations,” but apologized.
“It was never my intention to belittle Black women or sexual assault,” he wrote.
The Black Students Association also apologized and agreed to remove the list from already-published and future copies of the guide.
“We believe that the list was inappropriate and offensive to members of the community,” says BSA President Charles M. Moore. “We don’t want individual decisions about one page to affect the great effort put into the other 323.”
The guide begins with a dedication to W.E.B. Du Bois, the first Black student to earn a doctorate from Harvard.
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