I had been shamefully unaware of the Racist Object menace until 2016, but I’m pleased to report that America has since progressed to fretting over, at substantial expense, Racist Rocks. From the Wisconsin State-Journal [by the way, who had Wisconsin and Minnesota as their top states in the 2020 iSteve Content-Generator pool?]
UW-Madison moves forward on plan to move 70-ton boulder seen as symbol of racist past
Kelly Meyerhofer | Wisconsin State Journal Nov 19, 2020
UW-Madison is moving forward on a plan to remove a boulder from Observatory Hill after calls from students of color who see the rock as a painful reminder of the history of racism on campus.
The 70-ton boulder is officially known as Chamberlin Rock in honor of Thomas Crowder Chamberlin, a geologist and former university president. But the rock was referred to at least once after it was dug out of the hill as a “n*****head,” a commonly used expression in the 1920s to describe any large dark rock.
The Campus Planning Committee unanimously voted last week to recommend to Chancellor Rebecca Blank that the boulder be removed from Observatory Hill. Blank has previously indicated she supports the rock’s removal, though a timeline for removal has not been established.
The Wisconsin Black Student Union called for the rock’s removal over the summer. President Nalah McWhorter said the rock is a symbol of the daily injustices that students of color face on a predominantly white campus.
“This is a huge accomplishment for us,” she said on Wednesday. “We won’t have that constant reminder, that symbol that we don’t belong here.”
McWhorter also faulted the Wisconsin State Journal for printing the vulgarity in a 1925 news article.
University historians identified the news story as the only known instance of the offensive term being used.
Butcher told the committee that the rock’s removal presents an opportunity to prioritize students of color and engage in complex conversations.
The rock’s next destination has yet to be decided. Options include burying the rock at its original resting place, breaking up and disposing of the rock, or moving the rock to the Ice Age Trail.
But if they blow up the rock, perhaps each pebble created would continue to emanate racism and hate, kind of like how when Mickey Mouse chops up the broom into splinters in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, he now has to confront an entire army of brooms.
Breaking laws in the
I fought the rock and the
… Officials estimate the cost of removal ranges from $30,000 to $75,000.
After the rock is removed, the Black Student Union’s focus will shift to generating ideas for how students of color can reclaim the space, such as installing a piece of art, McWhorter said.
It’s almost as if these are turf wars.
Some academic should look into the late anthropologist Henry Harpending’s idea that we are seeing a revival in the U.S. of distinctively sub-Saharan superstitions.