Debater clarifies word usage

I read with some interest the article on the recent WCDU Fall event (“WCDU debate addresses privacy in politics,” Williams Record, Tuesday, October 3, 2000). I was pleased to participate in the debate, and I have no substantive quarrel with the way the debate itself was reported.

I am troubled, however, by the quotation attributed to me. It is alleged that I said something about the impulses of mankind. Except to parody students who refuse to use gender inclusive language (and then only with a dramatic flourish and a deep voice), I have not knowingly used the word ‘mankind’ since high school. If I did use this word in my extemporaneous presentation, I apologize to the Williams community for a gaffe that suggests a sentiment about language that I certainly do not endorse in my lucid moments. On the other hand, if I did not use this word, I urge the Record staff to be more careful in their attributions.