Give Yale University an “F” for Failing to Lead!
We, the people, who are faced with the historical ramifications of slavery, must now add Yale to the list of institutions that teach and talk about Social Justice and the equality of its students, but failed to deliver when given the opportunity to do what is fair and just. Yale can be praised for eliminating the title of “master” from faculty members who serve in leadership positions, to “head of college.” This decision shows that Yale is trying to understand the pain and embarrassment that the name holds. Who would think that here in 2016, a student would be expected to follow an archaic system, where the likely response to a question is “Yes Master!”. However, Yale has failed to take it a step further by removing the racially charged name, John C. Calhoun. Instead, Yale chooses to render a decision that is believed to be “indispensable to the peace and happiness’ to Yale, its alumni, and its students. Yale President, Peter Salovey is correct when he states that “we can not erase American History.” However, he is wrong in his decision that forces his students to grit their teeth, focus and learn under the roof of this supposed great “thinker” who’s rhetoric spews of racial hatred and inequality. Salovey is again wrong in thinking that symbols as such can be transformed into some sort of teaching moment. Mr. President, you do not need a swastika hanging over your head, to learn about the wrongs of Hitler. When a building is christened, it is a tribute, an honor, and the honoree’s character must be able to confidently deflect questions of moral, character and ethical conduct over time. If and when these individual characteristics fail to measure up to the standards of what we know is fair and just, we should not let it remain on the wall as a teaching moment; we should strike it down. So in the case of John C. Calhoun College, I fail to see how the removal of a name equates to a weakening of the confrontational aspects of slavery, or a lessening of one’s ability to teach and learn about the perils of slavery. Let’s give the institution of slavery it’s just do and admit that it’s much bigger than that. Let’s agree and not disagree that dedicating the building to John C. Calhoun is not a “positive good” as it relates to the future studies of American history. Yale still has an excellent opportunity to not only acknowledge its place in history, but make history, by identifying the naming of John C. Calhoun College as a distraction, and the man himself as a racist who’s cutting rhetoric should be archived, shelved, uploaded, downloaded, taught, learned about and never forgotten.