John McWhorter writes at the NYT:
The University of Wisconsin has apparently done Black people a favor. It lifted away a rock.
It was a big one, 42 tons, and at least some Black students thought of it as a symbol of bigotry. Because, you see, 96 years ago, when the rock was placed where it was until just now, someone in a local newspaper called it — brace yourself — a “niggerhead.”
That didn’t settle in as a permanent nasty local moniker for the rock. It was just something some cigar-chomping scribbler wrote in 1925. But still, the Wisconsin Black Student Union, making one of the kinds of demands such groups started pushing with especial fervor last year, insisted that the rock be taken away, with the backing of the school’s Indigenous student organization.
This is almost beyond parody. Becomes 96 years ago a local newspaper used the n word in reference to the rock, the woke activists demanded it be taken away.
There is no limit to their ability to take fake offence at everything.
If the presence of that rock actually makes some people desperately uncomfortable, they need counseling. And as such, we can be quite sure that these students were acting. Few can miss that there is a performative aspect in the claim that college campuses, perhaps the most diligently antiracism spaces on the planet, are seething with bigotry. The Wisconsin rock episode was a textbook demonstration of the difference between sincere activism and playacting, out of a desire to join the civil rights struggle in a time when the problems are so much more abstract than they once were.
I’d say anyone upset by the rock should be in an asylum.
The true fault here lies with the school’s administration, whose deer tails popped up as they bolted into the forest, out of a fear of going against the commandments of what we today call antiracism, which apparently includes treating Black people as simpletons and thinking of it as reckoning.
True wokeness would have been to awaken to the tricky but urgent civic responsibility of, when necessary, calling out Black people on nonsense. Yes, even Black people can be wrong. As the Black professor Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law puts it in his upcoming “Say It Loud!”: “Blacks, too, have flaws, sometimes glaringly so. These weaknesses may be the consequence of racist mistreatment. But they are weaknesses nonetheless.” To pretend this is never the case where racism is concerned is not to reckon but to dehumanize.
Yep the university administrators are cowards.