A Breach in Trust

by Marie B. Choi | 10/11/05 5:00am

To the Editor:

We, Marie Choi '06, Tim Mok '08 and Shawn Zhou '06, found Caleb Powers' op-ed last Friday appalling ("The Door I Couldn't Open," Oct. 7). In his op-ed, Powers characterizes his Asian-American roommate as a Bronx thug. Powers speculates that his roommate may become "the first investment banker ever to pull a knife out of his sock and stab a client." He continues to say that he expected his roommate "to bust out his brass knuckles and go Jay-Z meets Bruce Lee on me." Although Powers uses this caricature to add humor to his article, his reliance on anti-Asian stereotypes is a clear example of racism.

Furthermore, by revealing the identity of his roommate, Powers' article borders on libel. His roommate is neither a public figure nor an individual involved in a specific public controversy. Powers' claims about his roommate being a thug are unsubstantiated and defamatory. This is not only a case of bad judgment on the part of Powers, but also a complete failure of the editorial decision-making process.

Powers is one of many members of the Dartmouth community to impart his advice to the freshman class: "do the things here that you're putting off until later." Get to know your roommates so that ultimately, you come away with more than just a stereotypical caricature of who they are. Remember that communities are sustained on trust. We should not have to worry about our roommates writing defamatory articles about us in campus publications. We should also be able to trust The Dartmouth to maintain a basic level of journalistic integrity.

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