Saturday, 2 April 2016

Harvard discovers racism

This is a multi-layered story about how the richest,
most famous, best US university has finally decided
to recognise the racism in its midst.

In a similar development, Oxford University is facing
the spectre of Cecil Rhodes, a slave owner. Yes, that
Rhodes, of the Rhodes scholarship.
I think that you have to be transparent and then the
public will decide what to do. In most cases, slave
abetters and especially slave-owners need to be
taken down a rung, because they became the famous
grandees of history because of slavery.

At Harvard, their Law school symbol was taken on
from the Royall family (sounds made up, like Cadillac)
which donated its estate to fund the Law School.
Unfortunately, as the symbol hints at, the Royalls'
money was made thanks to the free but not
freely-volunteered work of slaves.
The wheat bushels on the real crest
have been modified here to show
slaves carrying bushels.

So, the family had slaves? A certain
kind of proof, given to us by the
reality shows which, for example
showed the Ben Affleck's family
were slave owners, is that the
African slaves took on the name of
their slave owner, and often gave
birth to their "illegitimate"
-under-the-"law" children.
It's hard to find any.

[this is why Tarantino is brilliant. As if small-time thugs have been
to Paris and Amsterdam.]

Nevertheless, blacks in the US,
or the UK, did not have
it as easy as Dido.

The blatantly obvious part of this is the fact that,
forgetting what the story below says, the wheat
pictured is not on the backs of workers, but
we can now "see" the slaves, because that's
what they were meant to depict, even if the
Royall family didn't consider slaves to be

I don't think this goes anywhere near the topic
of how much slavery has helped make the US
what it is, including Harvard University. I just
discovered that George Washington was not
only the richest man in revolutionary Americaa,
but also a land speculator and a slave owner. The
US must come clean and admit all this to start
healing the wounds. It's just symbolism, but
it means more than that to many whose family
history is entwined with the chains of slavery.

checkit: Guardian

Harvard law school drops official shield over slavery links

University committee rules shield donated by family that built wealth through slavery does not reflect institution’s values

Staff and agencies

Saturday 5 March 2016 03.59 GMT
Last modified on Monday 7 March 2016 11.44 GMT

Harvard law school will remove its official shield following months of protest at the symbol’s ties to an 18th-century slaveholder.

A committee at the prestigious university, which counts president Barack Obama among its alumni, was convened to rule on the issue and on Friday decided the shield was inappropriate.
Harvard 'black tape' vandalism brings law school's controversial past to fore
Read more

“We believe that if the law school is to have an official symbol, it must more closely represent the values of the law school, which the current shield does not,” the panel, made up of professors, alumni, students and staff, wrote in its recommendation.

The school has sent its decision to the university’s governing body, the Harvard corporation, asking for the emblem to stop being used as its official shield. It was not immediately clear when the corporation would take up the issue.

The shield’s meaning has changed over time, said Bruce Mann, committee chairman and Harvard law professor.

“Too many people think the shield has become an impediment,” he said. “Too many people see the association with slavery.”

The committee’s 10-2 recommendation was backed by Dean Martha Minow.

“I endorse the recommendation to retire the shield because its association with slavery does not represent the values and aspirations of the Harvard law school and because it has become a source of division rather than commonality in our community,” she wrote to students and alumni.

The shield, officially adopted in 1937, depicts three bundles of wheat, an image borrowed from the family crest of Isaac Royall Jr, under the university’s motto “Veritas”.

Royall donated his estate to create the first law professorship at Harvard University. His father, Isaac Royall Sr, made much of the family wealth on the backs of slaves on Caribbean sugar plantations and Massachusetts farms.

Minow created the committee after some law school students formed a group called Royall Must Fall to denounce the shield.

“We definitely consider this a victory that represents our tireless advocacy,” said AJ Clayborne, a third-year Harvard law student and member of Royall Must Fall, adding that the group was also dedicated to fighting other racial injustices at the school.

Not everyone agreed with the recommendation. One professor on the committee, joined by a student, said keeping the shield was a way to honor the slaves whose sacrifice provided the Royall family with its wealth.

They said the shield should be tied “to a historically sound interpretative narrative about it” and suggested adding the word “Iustitia” (justice in Latin) below the word “Veritas”.

The move to drop the shield came after Harvard University announced it would change the centuries-old title “house master”, used to describe the Ivy League’s residential administrators, to the term “faculty dean”.

There were waves of protests in late 2015 across several US college campuses, including Yale and Princeton, where students rallied against what they saw as institutional racism. Activists claimed the title “house master” was inappropriate and conjured a connection to slavery.

Associated Press contributed to this report