University of Wisconsin Declares Large Rock to be Racist; Votes to Remove

The University of Wisconsin-Madison plans to remove a large rock from campus after students complained that it is a symbol of racism because it was referred to in a local newspaper in 1925 using a word regarded as a racial slur.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Wednesday:

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***erhead,” a commonly used expression in the 1920s to describe any large dark rock.

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.

McWhorter also faulted the Wisconsin State Journal for printing the vulgarity in a 1925 news article.

According to the State Journal, the 1925 news article is the only known instance of the offensive term being used.

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School District Decides Asians Aren’t Students of Color

One school district in Washington state has evidently decided that Asians no longer qualify as persons of color.

In their latest equity report, administrators at North Thurston Public Schools—which oversees some 16,000 students—lumped Asians in with whites and measured their academic achievements against “students of color,” a category that includes “Black, Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Multi-Racial Students” who have experienced “persistent opportunity gaps.”

Most indicators in the report show that the achievement gap between white/Asian students and “students of color” is fairly narrow and improving over time. It would probably be even narrower if Asian students were categorized as “students of color.” In fact, some indicators might have even shown white students lagging behind that catch-all minority group. Perhaps Asians were included with whites in order to avoid such an outcome. (The superintendent did not respond to a request for comment.)

What the equity report really highlights is the absurdities that result from overreliance on semi-arbitrary race-based categories. The report also measured “students of poverty”—those who qualify for free or reduced-cost lunches—against non-poverty students, and unsurprisingly found a much more significant achievement gap. Students of poverty perform 28 percent worse on math tests, for instance. That socioeconomic category captures something real and meaningful in a way that the gerrymandered race category does not.

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Professors Call Out Beer And Beethoven As Latest Examples Of Racist Bias

In column in Slate, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Christopher White declared that referring to composers like Beethoven and Mozart by one name is a form of white supremacy. After all, White explained, it creates a “habitual, two-tiered” method where white composers are referenced by one name while women and minority composers are referred to by their first and last names:

“These canonized demigods became so ensconced in elite musical society’s collective consciousness that only one word was needed to evoke their awesome specter.”

White calls for an end to such “mononyms of music history.” I guess I will have to research the full names of Beyonce, Madonna, Sting, Cher, Bono, Pink, Seal, Adele and others.

For many, messing with Beethoven is still better than messing with beer. However, Virginia Tech sociology professor David L. Brunsma, has declared that beer also reinforces white supremacy. His co-authored book, Beer and Racism: How Beer Became White, Why It Matters, and the Movements to Change It, is marketed as a game changer: 

 “From the racist marketing of malt liquor to the bearded-white-dude culture of craft beer, readers will never look at a frothy pint the same after reading Beer and Racism.”

Craft beers are singled out as examples of racism. As explained by University of New Mexico professor Eli Wilson, it is long overdue to call out such beer lovers:

 “maybe a little bit of guilt: after the 10th beer festival you’ve been to where it is a bunch of pretzel-necklaced white dudes with beards and potbellies, it gets kind of old, you know?”

The ultimate racism recreation is presumably having an actual “Beethoven Beer.” 

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