to Ben Gott's column
Andy Shaw, '02
I feel compelled to thank Ben Gott for doing his share
to further fragment our community. Thanks to individuals like Gott, stereotypes
and pigeonholes remain a large part of life at Bowdoin.
Gott's column in last week's Orient reveals not only
the personal biases which the author holds, but also his willingness to
express those biases in a public forum. In relating his tale of a student
who was intoxicated and unruly in the dining hall during Homecoming, Gott
felt compelled to mention repeatedly (not once, not twice, but three times)
the fact that the individual in question was an athlete, even though this
fact was irrelevant both to the story and to the moral.
Stereotypes don't help anyone. Many teams on this campus
are struggling to overcome legacies of excessive partying and traditions
of misbehavior which follow us simply because of the sport in which we
choose to participate. As the co-captain of such a team, the behavior
of individuals like Gott saddens me to no end. As hard as the athletes
try, as well as we represent ourselves, it seems that there are always
people insisting that all athletes are drunks and bullies.
No one is perfect, everyone is judgmental to some extent.
We all hold some biases in our hearts, but it is our duty to overcome
those flaws, not to propagate them. I think I speak for all athletes,
and indeed all members of the Bowdoin community when I ask that we not
be judged based on the poor judgement of a select few.
Gott's anecdote could have been just as effective without
focusing on the extracurricular activities of the individual in question.
By describing the offender in terms of athletics THREE TIMES, Gott forced
his biases upon the audience, helping make this a more shallow, prejudicial,
and divided campus. Gott says that "Few things upset [him] more than
people who donít have the common decency to rein themselves in while in
public." Well, few things upset me more than people who don't have
the common decency to keep their poorly chosen stereotypes to themselves.
C'mon, Ben. Grow up.
Andy Shaw '02