Well Done, Harvard

by zunguzungu

The thing is this: Marty Peretz doesn’t matter very much, in the grand scheme. He’s been writing racist garbage for such a long time — and is at the twilight of his career — that what he writes or does from this point forward is not, itself, the issue. Let him have a fellowship named in his honor, or whatever.

What is important is the line in the sand that’s being drawn, and while Harvard’s administration acted precisely as unprincipled administrators looking for cash can be expected to act — “why yes, we will take your money!” — publicly shaming a bigot with a long record of being a bigot by airing his bigoted views is precisely the thing to do. Let him speak. Let him be honored if people want to honor him. But show everyone the racist spew of the man being honored, make sure everyone involved understands who he really is and what is being declared respectable. In that regard, Harvard — the real Harvard, its students — made a good accounting of themselves: