3 responses to “Beyond bystanding: An open letter to Brown students on political dissent”

  1. salgal

    I’m reading your thoughtful and powerful letter the day after the march and event at Brown. As I watched the students march up the hill and through the gates, I was curious about all of the different ways they reacted to the Pokanokets and their supporters. Some took a quick look and then went back to their screens. Some took video or pix. Some looked concerned. Some seemed a bit frightened. Others laughed. Many seemed transfixed and curious. As I said to a friend nearby, I wonder how they will change in the four years ahead of them.

    The point you make that struck me was how you felt seeing community people come up the hill to protest at Brown. For me, that is necessary because Brown does not come down the hill to the community except to expand their campus by continuing to build and swallow up land. With their 3.2 billion endowment, even their continuing ed (or whatever they call it) non-credit classes cost hundreds of dollars. There is no way for community members to avail themselves of any classes when the university could EASILY offer a true community outreach center with affordable or even free offerings.

    Perhaps as you suggest, students, and staff, could leave the bubble that Brown consciously constructs and consciously controls to spare their “special” and elite community from the common needs and actions of the community they in many ways “occupy”. Much like the land they occupy and think they own. Speak truth to power people because Brown will never step out to do the right thing on their own. A beautiful, exclusive, patronizing empire builder. Hold them accountable for the benefit of all, including themselves.

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  2. leftyrite

    I’m sure that there are kids

    going to Brown

    who are descended from the original colonists of Rhode Island.

    Wonder how those kids feel about things.

    Talked to a lady whose family was visited by Metacomet

    when they wanted the Wolf Killer to visit (after all, he killed wolves,)

    and even when they did not.

    He liked a good laugh at

    things they didn’t always understand.

    He burned Providence, most of it,

    and all of Rehoboth, excepting only a few.

    Met a lady once, who was still pissed

    on a terse, angry level.

    How about reconciliation?

    Nelson Mandela had a fair amount of prison time

    to use for thinking and came up with


    Roger Williams, for most of his authentic, brilliant life

    was a specialist in grace.

    He pulled a geriatric Chairman Mao at the end

    and fucked up, selling the people that

    (he thought) he knew so well

    into slavery

    when it turned out that their native souls

    would not, and could not, be fully converted.

    Not laissez-faire.

    Too much water under the bridge.

    How about a new sensibility(?)

    a hybrid borne of reconciliation.

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  3. leftyrite

    Put my Philip poe-po

    through the Platonic redigestion process.

    There’s a bad boy in there some place!!.

    But, …there’s good boy, too.

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