Saturday, December 4, 2010

Monkey-Wrenching Around

This post is a follow-up to my original comments on the matter, posted yesterday. By the way, here's the official story from Tufts Daily.

After discussing the topic with friends, and online, I decided to go add a comment below the wrench poster plastered to the door of my dorm building. I discretely added an index card, urging students to report all suspicions to TUPD, no matter what.

The next time I walked by that door, both my index card and the original poster were gone. In fact, all three posters in the surrounding area had vanished. Interesting.

Then I got to Shabbat services, where I had the opportunity to talk with Max, with whom I had already spoken about the subject. His adventures are detailed in his humorous and intriguing blog post on the subject. He took a somewhat comic approach to the issue, posting his own posters. In short, his posters pointed out the flaw in the original batch: they used an adjustable wrench; the real individual was holding a ratchet wrench.

The counter (or clarification) poster
Alright Max, that's kinda funny. Apparently, the original poster people didn't think so (he had a conversation with them; read more in his blog). And what the heck, you made the daily's online follow-up report! They're calling you a "piggy-back protester". But Max actually has an interesting point to make: was the call to TUPD made because the man with the wrench was black, or, perhaps, because people are unfamiliar with ratchet wrenches, which kinda look like guns.

Holding a ratchet wrench like a pistol
Well, gee, folks. Maybe the social activists are convinced that this was a case of "discrimination," but I'm not. Looks to me like anyone walkin' around with one of these looks pretty creepy. Even white guys.

Moral of the story? Of course gender/race discrimination exists. But don't go creating it where it doesn't. The real solution to all of this? Educate people about what tools look like. That being said, definitely take time to have a dialogue about race and gender. But not in this context. This isn't fair to people trying to do the right thing.

Remember: Report suspicious behavior to TUPD! It doesn't make you look stupid, it helps keep us safe. Also remember: Computer science students get free printing; make friends with them.

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