McGill University And Cancel Culture


Recently the administrative powers that be at McGill University succumbed to pressure from cancel culture adherents and removed a statue of founder James McGill from the main campus. James McGill was not only the university’s founder, but was, like many wealthy folks of his vintage, an owner of slaves.

Does removing the statue erase this egregious past? Of course not. Times change, what is clearly seen as an horrific practice today was commonplace at one time.

So by all means let’s try to make that past go away by cleansing the current day. If we could go back in time and cancel slavery I’d be the first in line, but of course we can’t.

So by all means let’s try to make that past go away by cleansing the current day. If we could go back in time and cancel slavery I’d be the first in line, but of course we can’t.

Now that the statue is gone, what’s next? The school has already caved to the cancellers by changing the men’s sports team name from Redmen (referring to the school’s colour, not a derogatory sobriquet for indigenous peoples) to Redbirds (I hope the St. Louis Cardinals don’t take offense). Some people have suggested actually changing the name of the university from McGill to something less offensive. Like removing the statue, changing the name won’t alter or erase the past.

And if having the James McGill statue on campus and, in fact, calling the school McGill is so heinous, then I have to assume that those attending said institution must be absolutely abominable people.

And if having the James McGill statue on campus and, in fact, calling the school McGill is so heinous, then I have to assume that those attending said institution must be absolutely abominable people. What kind of folks would do such a thing? Especially if, as is the case with most students, they are actually paying tuition to this contemptible institution of higher education to be there. Forget about the high quality education, the state-of-the-art facilities and faculty, and the high international ranking.

Perhaps it should be suggested that prospective employers reject outright McGill graduates, such as myself, for being in any way associated with the school, albeit two centuries later.

Perhaps it should be suggested that prospective employers reject outright McGill graduates, such as myself, for being in any way associated with the school, albeit two centuries later. Should other universities refuse McGill diploma holders from their faculties based on the founder’s slave ownership?

The attempted erasure of previous ills is a recipe for disaster. Simply because they can’t be erased, clocks cannot be turned back. Rather, the recognition of such despicable acts needs to be ingrained in the minds of current population. Indeed, maybe the most loathsome example of racism in the last 200 years was the Holocaust. Yet survivors and their families don’t try to erase the past, but use it to urge people to Never Forget.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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