London, England (Accredited Times) – there is more than a hint of menace in the corridors of the West’s most prestigious educational establishments. A demonic spirit of utmost oppression literally possesses any ethnic minority individual or womyn who dares step inside an elite university. You know these places by their names: Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, Durham, Columbia, Yale.
We are existentially a long way from Portland Community College.
Typically, you will enter the university via a wrought iron gate and pass through a dimly lit corridor beyond. Lining the corridor on either side are dozens of solid marble statues. Who were the people that these statues represent? According to the plaques, these were variously the founders, benefactors, previous heads of departments, notable scientists, Nobel prize winners, lecturers, famous scholars.
Without exception, each and every one of the statues is of a Dead White Male.
As the three words register, bile rises involuntarily into your mouth and you throw up. You are desperate to leave but the iron gate slams shut behind you. You are trapped. Like Dante’s inferno, you can only move forward to the next layer of Hell.
You read the Latin motto above the entranceway – Carpe Diem (seize the day). If you are savvy enough to read between the lines, however, it actually means ‘Abandon hope, ye who enter here, unless you are a white male student’.
If any of this sounds exaggerated or unlikely to you, it is precisely because of your privileged toxic whiteness. Lacking all empathy with people of color, you imagine there is nothing remotely threatening about every single statue being of a dead fucking white male.
Let us imagine a brilliant student of color into being, and call her Keisha Washington. Along with her ten siblings, Keisha was brought up by a working single mother with five day jobs. Life in the ghetto was tough and Keisha herself ‘worked the streets’ just to help feed the family. Since all white people had flown from the area decades ago, all Keisha’s neighbors and friends are black. Yes, the ghetto is tough and there is crime – in fact a lot of it – but there is a certain honor, dignity, and honesty in the criminal acts.
Despite all the many disadvantages she has had in life Keisha somehow managed to get an overseas scholarship to study law at King’s College, London.
Can you imagine Keisha’s utter sense of disorientation, isolation and intimidation when she comes to the supposedly multicultural city of London only to be greeted by statues of dead white males? You can? Good. We are making progress.
Fortunately for people like Keisha, the authorities at King’s College London are now taking action. In order to address the intimidation students of color have faced since King’s was founded, they propose to add statues representative of ethnic minorities and womyn. Although the people represented by the statues may have absolutely nothing to do with King’s College/ did not achieve anything remotely noteworthy, this is besides the point.
The UK’s Daily Telegraph last week reported on the plans afoot to reverse the historic injustices which have caused so much past suffering.
“King’s College London is to swap portraits of some of its founding fathers with a “wall of diversity” amid pressure from students, a dean says.
The plans to move portraits of former faculty staff from the main entrance wall and replace them with more BME scholars are being implemented by the world famous Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, following concern among academics that the current classroom environment is too “intimidating” for ethnic minorities.
The proposals were unveiled by Professor Patrick Leman, the Institute’s dean of education, who said that the faculty should not just be filled with “busts of 1920s bearded men” but rather more modern, diverse scholars so that the Institute feels less “alienating”…Meanwhile, teaching materials, such as diagrams of the human anatomy, will be changed to feature a “range of ethnic groups”, rather than just the “standard white male”.
The Telegraph quoted Leman as saying ‘We’re trying to reflect the diversity in terms of students we have, but also trying to be more inter-cultural, more international in terms of how we develop the science,” he told The Telegraph.
“A great deal of medical, psychological research has been of white, male, North American or European students…so increasingly we try and broaden it to include more recent research from Asia, Africa, and from other parts of the world.”
The Accredited Times last week contacted King’s College London to encourage them to mount a statue of Keisha Washington. Whilst she is entirely fictional, we consider that her story is no different to that of millions of people of color who are endlessly exploited by the white patriarchy. A spokesperson for King’s said that they ‘would look into it’.
In closing, we can only hope that statues of dead white males like Newton, Aristotle, Kepler, Fibonacci, Tesla – people who, we should remember, did absolutely nothing to eradicate black slavery in the US – are jettisoned and replaced with Washington. Keisha not George by the way.