Racism is serious. It’s real. If you’ve read The Color of Character or my blog posts, you know it’s on my mind, and something I would like to see diminished, at the very least, even if it can’t be totally eliminated. It will take rational people, interacting rationally.
There are many discussions about racism on our campuses. Some of those discussions are about important topics, such as outright discrimination, or at least the impression of it. Some of it, in my opinion, is a distraction from the important issues. These are minutiae that hijack the discussion, and cause important players to walk away from the necessary conversation in frustration or disgust. I’ve already focused on micro-aggressions: subjective judgements deciding what words or phrases we can use; defining safe-spaces; warning of trigger words; and all those other things that might keep our students from learning about the real world. Sensible people will be detoured from making real progress in ways that will help the most people. Here is another example of a focus on racism that has gone off the track. Read here.
I use this as only one example of dozens from which to choose to make my point. Concerned students of Lebanon Valley College, there might be important things to take issue with on your campus. Don’t detract from a serious discussion on those issues by elevating a man’s name to that level. This is the slippery slope of looking for micro-aggressions and safe spaces on campus. Safe from what? A person’s name?