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19 Nov, 2020 18:36

‘Symbol of racism’: Wisconsin university to remove BOULDER from campus over 1925 local newspaper slur

‘Symbol of racism’: Wisconsin university to remove BOULDER from campus over 1925 local newspaper slur

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is planning to somehow remove a 70-ton boulder from its campus because a word once used to describe it in the 1920s was a racial slur.

The ‘problematic’ boulder is officially known as Chamberlin Rock in honor of Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin, a renowned 19th and 20th century geologist and former university president.

Unfortunately, in the 1920s, a common name for large and darkly colored boulders was the racial slur “n*****head.” Cementing the canceling of the Chamberlin rock is the fact that it was once referred to by this nickname in print in 1925 by the Wisconsin State Journal.

Over the summer, the university’s Black Student Union called for the rock’s removal, saying it was a historic symbol of racism. Last week the Campus Planning Committee unanimously voted for the boulder to be removed from Observatory Hill. “This is a huge accomplishment for us,” the union’s president Nalah McWhorter said on Wednesday, adding: “We won’t have that constant reminder, that symbol that we don’t belong here.”

The Wisconsin State Journal story is the only recorded instance of the rock being referred to by the slur, according to university historians.

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It is yet unknown how the university will go about getting rid of the giant stone. Moving it could prove troublesome due to its hefty weight, so Chamberlin Rock could be broken up, or possibly buried.

The student union is reportedly working on a solution with the university's geoscience department, which says there is educational value in the rock which was carried by glaciers perhaps from as far north as Canada and later excavated from the site of Observatory Hill in the 1920s.

Some social media commenters were utterly baffled by a simple rock with a plaque in memory of a geologist being deemed racist, saying that PC culture “has gone too far.” 

Conservative cartoonist Ben Garrison called it “2020 in a nutshell,” while conservative film director Dinesh D'Souza said that the rock must have deserved its fate by “refusing to be a brown or black” completely and thus “displaying insensitivity to minorities.”

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