Oxford donations should stop ‘throwing tantrums’ at statues, says Oriel’s only African guardian
The Department of Politics and International Relations is uniquely positioned to promote equality and diversity by bringing awareness to places in the world where there is still a lot more work to be done than under the arrows of the dream.
Bothering so much for a statue is a dazzling sign of Western privilege. In countries where statues – if they still exist – are bombed or beheaded, this is a luxury no one can afford. The concern for equality is legitimate – however, it could only emerge from an environment so rich that the last privilege to be conquered is high morality.
Earlier this summer, the only disruption following the call to boycott Oriel only affected one hour-long tutorial, which I ended up teaching.
The signal of anti-Rhodes virtue has little or no effect other than showing students that they are sacrificial hostages and teaching them that even respectable academics at one of the most prestigious universities cannot not see a statue without having a temper tantrum.
More importantly, while the faculty’s statement claims to be anti-racist and anti-patriarchal in full respect of intersectional dogma, it perpetuates the distinction between “the rational West” (as in “the white, modern and educated savior” ) and the “irrational other” (as in “poor, oppressed, overly emotional, not white / female”).
It ventriloquizes students from ethnic minorities and keeps them in a permanent state of emotional immaturity, adolescent overreaction, and lack of resilience.
Has Ireland asked North African countries for reparations for Berber slave trading raids? Why isn’t anyone protesting around the Catholic and Protestant martyrs memorials on Broad Street and Holywell Street?
Memorials also help to see that history is moving forward. Oxford is now a thriving multicultural university. Students from all over the world come here in search of the truth. Caring more about emotions and opinions than about learning defeats the very purpose of higher education.
Rhodes Must Fall and the media have accumulated misinformation about Rhodes, making him a slave owner and genocidal warlord. He is now a scapegoat, and his statue the propitiatory victim that 21st-century Oxford must sacrifice to purify itself of its own past, as if the ghost of Rhodes were out there, ready to leap over the lightly tanned limbs of the university. to micro-attack them.
Yet the only way the Rhodes statue could hurt you is by craning your neck looking at it for too long.