Reflections on the Life and Legacy of Dr. King Student Remarks
Bruce Webster, SM '06, Graduate Student; Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Description: In Bruce Webster's measured appraisal, there can be no level playing field for minorities in a country where "wealth was acquired on the backs of slaves, acquired on deceitful deals made with people that did not understand, 'on subsidies provided by the poor." He scoffs at current attacks on affirmative action in higher education that claim unfair bias on the basis of race. How can marginalized students make it into college when SAT, GRE and LSAT scores can be bought, in the form of expensive test-preparation courses? As a descendant of the Navajo Nation, Webster sees his people the victims of a holocaust: "Nazi Germany had Hitler; the U.S. government had Kit Carson, the U.S. cavalry and the Bureau of Indian Affairs." Webster dares other students to challenge the "dominant society," as he himself has, and "get close enough to touch the enemy."
About the Speaker(s): Bruce Webster was born and raised on the Navajo reservation in Upper Fruitland, New Mexico. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 17, and received the Humanitarian Service Medical for the Hurricane Elena Recovery Effort and Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal for Operation Just Cause. He earned a B.S. in Engineering with Specialization in Mechanics from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 1995, and received a Navajo Nation High Achievement Scholarship for his work at this Institute. For several years, he worked for Nike Corporation's Product Integrity Department. He has a fellowship from Aero/Astro for 2003-2004. Webster says, "I am a Native American flute artist, a singer of Northern and Southern Style Powwow songs. I am a veteran, so I dance the Kiowa style Gourd Dance. I also sing in my church choir." He attended a stock car racing school at Phoenix International Raceway. For his 32nd birthday, he taught himself to skate and played for the Beaverton, Oregon champion hockey team in 2001. He recently took up golf and "dreams of joining the PGA Tour or the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series."
Host(s): Office of the President, MIT Annual Breakfast Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tape #: T18161
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