In light of recent events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement worldwide, it is important for us as a community to take every action we can to tackle systemic racism within the institution that many black and other students of colour call home. In recent days, Carleton has come out with statements vehemently condemning racism, while also committing to taking every stride to address the racial injustices faced by students every day. While such statements look good on paper, progress cannot be made unless considerable action is taken.
Now is the time for action.
Currently, in the one of the most newly developed sections of our school, next to one of the newest buildings on campus in Richcraft Hall, stands a statue of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The renowned Indian lawyer, turned activist who led his country to freedom from British colonial rule. History books however, will not teach you of Ghandi's racist and misogynistic views, along with his predatory behaviour towards little children, especially young girls. Why an institution would continue to yield the statue of an individual who was publicly anti-black, referred to Africans as savages, likening them to animals, and someone who slept naked with his grandniece to "test his willpower" is inexplicable and inexcusable. We as an institution cannot claim to champion diversity and seek to eradicate institutionalized racism while symbols like this are still present on our campus. The time for action is now. However revered a figure he may be in the world of academia, we must acknowledge the pain and discomfort this statue causes our students. We must remove this statue from our campus.
Carleton has publicly stated a willingness to listen to its student body and proactively take steps to battle racism and discrimination. Well, your students are talking.
Whether in the form of reviewing hiring practices to determine the reasons behind the lack of black professors and faculty members at this University, or increasing disciplinary action for professors who willingly and openly use racial slurs as part of their lectures, Carleton has a long way to go. This is just one small step.