I am writing in response to Jessica Rutter's column Aug. 29 column about racism at Duke, particularly her criticism of Duke's course offerings. I am a little confused why Rutter is complaining so much about course offerings.
While it is true that the philosophy department focuses heavily on the teachings of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, it is also true that these men were the fathers of philosophy, so it only makes sense to do so. Similarly, the physics department concentrates on the theories of Newton, Maxwell and Einstein, so does that make its course offerings racist as well?
Furthermore, as far as Duke not offering wide varieties of courses exploring other cultures, apparently she didn't look at ACES closely enough. Not only does Duke offer extensive coursework in African and Asian languages, literatures and cultures, but also offers majors in these areas. Duke even offers a class in Persian literature. I doubt that you will find that at some small private school in Arkansas.
However, having said this, there are obvious problems that exist between different racial groups at Duke. It is my opinion that these racial problems stem from a more complicated tendency of the student body towards de facto segregation that will not be corrected by offering courses in socialist economic theory or Confucianism.
May I suggest that the entire student body do a bit more self-reflection rather than criticizing a school that offers courses as diverse as Persian literature.