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The Daily Tar Heel

Horowitz Protesters Acted With Decorum, Great Show of Activism

This letter is in response to Bruce Newman's needlessly harsh attack on the protesters of the now-infamous Horowitz column ("Protesters' Response to Horowitz Column "Knee-Jerk Reaction" April 6).

Newman made it entirely clear that he does not agree with the protesters' point of view. He does not feel that the Horowitz column is racist, and he feels that there was nothing that ought to have prevented its running in The Daily Tar Heel. Many of us may disagree with him, but certainly these points of view are legitimate perspectives on an important issue.

Newman's letter, however, is not really concerned with attempting to clarify or defend the Horowitz column. Rather, he lambastes the politically active elements of the student body. He states, "if Horowitz is wrong, it should not take a great deal of effort to expose him." If, however, the Horowitz column is not racist, the demonstration of this fact should take a little more effort than simply to have Newman tell us so.

It would be nice if Newman shared with all of us the nature of the "racism test" to which he has evidently put the Horowitz column.

He quickly abandons the issue of racism altogether, railing at students with a string of insulting adjectives: "conformist," "unimaginative," "weak-minded," "spoiled," "pathetic." He's evidently very angry about something, but it's not so clear what that is.

Perhaps Newman's point is that students are wrong in their efforts to publicly object to the publication of speech which they perceive as harmful. Perhaps his argument is that the speech is not harmful at all. But he doesn't really say any of these things. Instead, he claims that the protesters have not thought about the issues thoroughly. Yet he fails to mention what they missed.

Then Newman, implying that the "head of UNC" has no backbone, claims that students ought to "get out of his face until such time as they (learn) how to present themselves in a more dignified manner."

Newman hadn't mentioned dignity before and does not take the time to explain how the protest might have been more dignified.

If Newman has an objection to the point of view expressed by the protesters, I suspect most (if not all) of them would be open to the dialogue.

I do not think, however, that censuring the students for being weak-minded, spoiled or undignified promotes much of a dialogue. Personal attacks are not a terribly effective way to make an argument.

I am glad to be part of a politically active student body. I am very proud of the way the students involved in the protest responded (not "reacted," Newman) to the Horowitz article.

Whatever Newman's feelings on the article are, he does the student body of UNC a disservice in failing to observe the great decorum with which the protesters conducted themselves in the face of a very contentious issue. I didn't see a single conformist, weak-minded, spoiled brat among them.

Clark Barwick



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