The University of Wisconsin-Madison has found a new and innovative way to combat racism in the United States: by removing giant boulders from its campus.
Last week, the school assembled a crew to hoist the 70-ton rock known as Chamberlin Rock and ship it down to Lake Kegonsa, just south of its Madison campus. The historic boulder, which dates back to the Precambrian Era and is likely more than 2 billion years old, had become a source of controversy on campus after some students claimed it was racist.
Their reasoning was that Chamberlin Rock was once referred to as a “n*****head” rock in a 1925 article in the Wisconsin State Journal. This, apparently, was enough evidence that Chamberlin Rock was more than just a geological artifact, even though university historians have not found any other time that the term was used to describe the boulder.
“This moment is about the students, past and present, that relentlessly advocated for the removal of this racist monument,” said Juliana Bennett, a senior at the school and a campus representative on the Madison City Council. “Now is a moment for all of us BIPOC students to breathe a sigh of relief, to be proud of our endurance, and to begin healing.”
It cost the school about $50,000 to remove the rock with a massive crane and place it on the truck that would carry it to its new home. UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said this price tag was covered by private donations. Imagine how much good that money could have done had it been spent helping the residents in the school’s community who face various disparities?
But that’s not the kind of change the university’s students and staff members care about because it’s not the kind that attracts the attention they’re after.
And so, another piece of history is tossed aside needlessly. As local resident Kenneth Owens put it, “It’s not the rock’s fault that it got that terrible and unfortunate nickname.”
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Original Author: Kaylee McGhee White
Original Location: University of Wisconsin rocks racism to its core