Harvard Loves Free Speech
March 3, 2005
by David French
Some things are beyond parody or comment. Apparently, at Harvard, there is a move to ensure that comments from outside speakers are no longer “heteronormative” (implying that “standard sexual relationships are only between males and females”). The outrage was generated by the notorious cultural firebrand Jada Pinkett Smith, star of such films as Collateral, Matrix: Revolutions, Woo, and The Nutty Professor. Here’s a summary from the Harvard Crimson:
After some students were offended by Jada Pinkett Smith’s comments at Saturday’s Cultural Rhythms show, the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) and the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations have begun working together to increase sensitivity toward issues of sexuality at Harvard.
Students said that some of Pinkett Smith’s remarks concerning appropriate gender roles were specific to heterosexual relationships.
In a press release circulated yesterday by the BGLTSA—and developed in coordination with the Foundation—the BGLTSA called for an apology from the Foundation and encouraged future discussion of the issue.
According to the Foundation’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC) Co-Chair Yannis M. Paulus ’05, the two groups have already planned concrete ways to address the concerns that Pinkett Smith’s speech rose.
The BGLTSA release acknowledged that the Foundation was not responsible for Pinkett Smith’s comments. But the Foundation has pledged to “take responsibility to inform future speakers that they will be speaking to an audience diverse in race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender and class,” according to the release.
As long as we’re piling on Smith, I hereby call on her to apologize for wasting her considerable acting talents on Matrix: Reloaded and Matrix: Revoloutions, two of the most disappointing sci-fi films of the last three decades.