Adventures of a Campus Stone

We have a large stone in the midst of the campus quad, and there’s a tradition of students and student organizations decorating it in all kinds of inventive ways with the hope that their decor will stay on the stone the longest. It’s a great tradition, and I like to bring Klara to the quad each week (it’s right next to her music lesson) to look at the stone. She already knows the words art, artist, painting, and poetry, and these visits help her practice the words. Plus, there’s shade, which is hard to find in our town. 

So then last week some individual who hasn’t been visited by the light of reason drew a Confederate flag on the stone. Of course, the drawing was removed by the school authorities immediately. Events were conducted to educate people on why they shouldn’t do this kind of thing.

Then yesterday somebody from the opposing camp used the stone to write “Fuck white supremacy!” Which is obviously not allowed to appear on campus since it’s profanity. I don’t think there will be any specific events because one doesn’t want to sound totally crazy with, “Kiddies, these are bad words. You can’t use such bad words. Now let’s sing itsy-bitsy spider and hold hands.”

I hope poutiness goes out of vogue and we can go back to our beautiful tradition.


2 thoughts on “Adventures of a Campus Stone”

  1. Sigh. While I certainly understand the university’s response, I worry that this contributes to “both siderism.” Profanity and white supremacy aren’t on the same level of evil–not even close. And frankly: after the events of Charlottesville, I sometimes feel compelled to say “Fuck these people.” But I am a 43 year old woman and have self control. I can see how the revival of the KKK and Nazi ideology is profoundly upsetting to young people.

    This is all to say that this seems like more than pouting to me. Ineffective? Absolutely. But not pouting. Honestly, the events of Charlottesville (and the even more upsetting aftermath) was something of a game changer for me. I can’t think of a moment where I was more disappointed, saddened, and disgusted by my country. If I saw a Confederate flag or a swastika on my campus, I think I might weep.

    There are MUCH much better things to write than “Fuck White Supremacy” of course. And ultimately their gesture of rebellion or critique (or whatever it was) backfired. Perhaps someone should offer to talk about effective political resistance with the students?


    1. Students told me there is currently a fad to photograph every cup of coffee you drink and post it on Instagram. Why or for what purpose is a mystery. But it’s something they all do because everybody does it.

      I see no difference in substance between defacing the stone and this fad. One activity is offensive and the other is not, that’s the difference. But they are both from the realm of vapid pranking with no political content.

      As for effective political resistance, I don’t think anybody here has anything to share about that because nobody has even tried resisting anything, either effectively or not.

      We have one African American student graduating from the math department in the last 5 years. Everybody cheers these anti-white supremacy outbursts but trying to get people to talk about what is happening to black students during the progress to degree and why they drop out is next to impossible. People look visibly bored. I will not believe anybody cares about racism until somebody shows any interest in the lives of these actual students we have around us.


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