In Response to: The Color of Classics

It is an interesting article on “The Color of Classics.” Yaffe quotes Christopher Waldo saying, there is “a real desire to transform the field [of classics] into ... anti-racist and anti-white supremacist.” She further states that in ancient societies, “hierarchies were not based on skin color.” Hear, hear ... here! 

For the thousands of you reading this who do not know me, you cannot tell whether I’m Black or white. I could be either. William Whipple, Jr. signed the Declaration of Independence as a New Hampshire founding father, and Prince Whipple, a slave from Guinea, fought for the Union Army to earn his freedom. But Black or white, what difference should it make? You also cannot tell any other things about my DNA; nor that I was raised in a single-parent family. And my name is even bisexual. Ah, the advantages of the written word without video or color graphics. 

The point is: Princeton University has always aspired to recognition as an elite institution. So it should be judged only on its merit.  So, too, should its students and its faculty be selected and judged only on their merit, “not based on skin color.”  Welcome to the new Alumni Council Officers (October issue, p. 8). May they add new energy to the “classical” theme of merit at Princeton, lest we become so focused on race and color that our efforts at inclusion actually become exclusionary. Don’t step over the diamonds. Meritorious achievement and fulfillment of one’s potential should be colorblind, as in the classical ancient societies.

Terry L. Whipple ’67
Richmond, Va.