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Another Summers Offense Resurfaces—Seven Months Late

The headline news story of The Crimson today reports that
remarks made by Harvard President Larry Summers back in a September 2004
conference on Native American studies has resurfaced as scholars now report
that they were offended, insulted, and appalled by his speech. Summers released
the transcript of
the speech yesterday. He has been accused of being insensitive and
condescending by implying that the genocide of Native Americans was
“coincidental” and by criticizing their “dependency” on the government.

As reported in The Crimson, Summers has defended himself by saying: “I was
attempting to make the point from a policy perspective that tragedies happen
both as a consequence of malice and because of accidents and inattention.” And:
“The overarching point of my remarks was to express a concern about the well-being
of Native Americans today: how to increase life expectancy, reduce poverty, and
to do so in the best way given the distinctive historical relationship between
Native American communities and the larger society.”

Let’s see how this controversy develops.

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