Who would have thought that a rock believed to be more than 2 billion years old would be removed from a university campus because it was considered “racist?” Well, this happened just recently at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where racial justice activists got their way.
On August 6th, crews began removing the heavy rock from its perch on top of the campus’s Observatory Hill. The rock had been placed there in 1925 and named after a prominent 19th century geologist and former university president, Thomas Crowder Chamberlin.
The campus cancel culture brigades who successfully managed to get the ancient boulder removed failed to also force the university to remove an Abraham Lincoln statue from campus. With their victory over the boulder in hand, however, the student activists will likely make another move against the statue of ”The Great Emancipator.”
The Black Student Union and other racial justice activists were upset upon discovering that nearly a century ago, when the large dark rock was excavated and placed on top of Observatory Hill, a journalist at the time used the N-word in quotes to describe it. Apparently, that was the only example university researchers could find when the rock was referred to in print with the N-word. But once was enough for the racial justice warriors to demand removal of the more than two-billion-year-old rock.
At a Campus Planning Committee meeting on November 12, 2020, Nalah McWhorter, the president of the Wisconsin Black Student Union, spoke out against the rock. “The rock is a symbol of the injustice students of color face on campus daily,” she said.
The rock, this geology-challenged activist added,“symbolizes oppression and discrimination.”
McWhorter is the same radical who led the failed campaign to remove the Lincoln statue. “I think when people say, okay, Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves … I think that’s looking at a very small piece of his presidency at the time,” McWhorter said.
The freed slaves would no doubt have begged to differ.
On behalf of the university’s Department of Geoscience, a faculty member told the planning committee that the controversial rock had “immense teaching and educational value in addition to its scientific importance.” The rock, left behind by melting glaciers, is tangible geological evidence of Wisconsin’s glaciation period.
The racial justice warriors could not care less about geology. They labeled a natural rock that was formed way before there were any humans on the planet a “racist monument.”
Juliana Bennett, a senior and campus representative on the Madison City Council, explained that somehow removing the rock was necessary to foster a more “inclusive” campus.
The “woke” university administration buckled. Geological evidence from more than two billion years ago was removed from campus to placate a bunch of nihilistic radicals.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor praised the student activists. “It took courage and commitment for the Wisconsin Black Student Union to bring this issue forward and to influence change alongside UW’s Wunk Sheek student leaders,” Reesor said. “In the midst of demands for justice following George Floyd’s murder last summer, the students wanted change on campus and they worked hard to see this through.”
A politically correct hissy fit is the university administration’s idea of what constitutes “courage and commitment.” Bowing to absurd demands like removing an ancient rock was one way for the university administrators to repent for their “white privilege.”
However, that’s not the only way the University of Wisconsin-Madison is repenting for “white privilege.” Its “Libraries” website has a page entitled “Disrupting Whiteness in Libraries and Librarianship: A Reading List.” It was published by the University of Wisconsin System Office of the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian.
The white person who developed this list, Karla J. Strand, also provides monthly recommended reading lists to Ms. Magazine readers. “I want to do my part in the disruption of what has been the acceptable ‘norm’ in the book world for far too long—white, cis, heterosexual, male,” she wrote. Strand recommended a book for her August 2021 reading list that she described as “a powerful and necessary examination of anti-fatness as anti-Blackness from a fat, Black, disabled and nonbinary trans writer extraordinaire.”
Refusing to celebrate Thanksgiving, Strand calls herself a “white settler” who is occupying “stolen land.”
The University of Wisconsin-Madison where Strand works happens to sit on land that Native Americans were said to have inhabited for 13,000 years before white settlers came along. The university put up a plaque recognizing the land as the ancestral home of the Ho-Chunk. But that is just another example of “woke” white guilt manifesting itself in virtue signaling. No real sacrifices were required.
It was much easier for the “woke” University of Wisconsin-Madison administration to remove a two-billion-plus-year-old rock from campus than any campus building “occupying” Native American land.