I took the liberty to edit the distributed original
The letter (below) is an alleged response from Oxford University to black students who demand the university removes the statue of Oxford Benefactor, Cecil Rhodes.
Interestingly, Chris Patten (Lord Patten of Barnes), The Chancellor of Oxford University, was on the Today Program on BBC Radio 4 on precisely the same topic.
The Daily Telegraph headline yesterday was Oxford will not rewrite history. Lord Patten commented that “Education is not indoctrination. History is not a blank page on which one can write our version of what it should have been according to our contemporary views and prejudice.”
To those two students who desire the tearing down of the Rhodes statue:
“Cecil Rhodes’s generous bequest has significantly contributed to the Education and well being of many generations of Oxford students – a good many of them-I dare conjecture was better, brighter and devilishly more deserving than the two of you. One does not necessarily require the approval of everything Rhodes did in his lifetime to benefit from his generosity- but then we don’t have to. Cecil Rhodes died over a century ago.
Autres temps, autres moeurs. If you don’t understand what this means – and it would not remotely surprise us if that were the case – then we think you should ask yourself the question: “Why am I at Oxford?”
Oxford, let me remind you, is the world’s second-oldest extant university. Scholars have been studying here since at least the 11th century. From the 12th-century intellectual renaissance through the Enlightenment and beyond. Our alumni include William of Ockham, Roger Bacon, William Tyndale, John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Erasmus, Sir Christopher Wren, William Penn, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Samuel Johnson, Robert Hooke, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Emily Davison, Cardinal Newman, Julie Cocks.
We’re a big deal. And most of the people privileged to come and study here are conscious of what a big deal we are. Oxford is their Alma mater – their dear mother – and they respect and revere her accordingly.
And what were your ancestors doing in that period? Living in mud huts, mainly. Sure we’ll concede the short-lived Southern African civilization of Great Zimbabwe. But let’s be brutally honest here. The contribution of the Bantu tribes to modern culture has been zilch. You’ll probably say that’s “racist.” But it’s what we here at Oxford prefer to call “true.”
Perhaps the rules are different at other universities. Black Lives Matter; the creeping relativism of stifling political correctness; what Allan Bloom rightly called “the closing of the American mind.” At Oxford, however, we prefer facts, free and open debate juxtaposed against petty grievance-mongering, identity politics, and empty sloganeering. The day we cease to do so is the day we lose the right to call ourselves the world’s most excellent university. Of course, one is within one’s sovereign to squander the Oxford experience. Interest in the silly and disturbing does not compliment scholarly pursuit. (Though it does make us wonder how stringent the vetting procedure is these days for Rhodes scholarships and even more so, for Mandela Rhodes scholarships), We are used to seeing undergraduates – or, in your case – postgraduates, making idiots of themselves. Just don’t expect us to indulge your idiocy, let alone genuflect before it.
You may be black – “BME” as the grisly modern terminology has it – but we are color blind. We have been educating gifted undergraduates from our former colonies, Empire, Commonwealth, and beyond for many generations. We do not discriminate over sex, race, color, or creed. We do, however, discriminate according to intellect. That means, among other things, that when our undergrads or post grads come up with inanely foolish ideas, we don’t pat them on the back, give them a red rosette and say: “Ooh, you’re black and you come from South Africa. What a clever chap you are!” No. We prefer to see the quality of those ideas tested in the crucible of public debate. That’s another vital part of the Oxford intellectual tradition you see: you can argue any damn thing you like, but you need to be able to justify it with facts and logic – otherwise, your idea is worthless.
This ludicrous notion you have that a bronze statue of Cecil Rhodes should be removed from Oriel College because it’s symbolic of “institutional racism” and “white slavery.” Well, even if it is – which we dispute – so bloody what? Any undergraduate so feeble-minded that they can’t pass a bronze statue without having their “safe space” violated does not deserve to be here. And besides, if we were to remove Rhodes’s bronze image under the premise that his life wasn’t blemish-free, where would we stop? As one of our alumni, Dan Hannan, has pointed out, Oriel’s other benefactors include two kings so awful – Edward II and Charles I – that their subjects had them killed. The college opposite – Christ Church – was built by a murderous, thieving bully who bumped off two of his wives. Thomas Jefferson kept slaves: does that invalidate the US Constitution? Winston Churchill had unenlightened views about Muslims and India: was he then the wrong man to lead Britain in the war?” We’ll go further than that. Your Rhodes Must Fall campaign is not merely fatuous but ugly, vandalistic, and dangerous. We agree with Oxford historian R W Johnson that what you are trying to do here is no different from what ISIS and the Al-Qaeda have been doing to artifacts in places like Mali and Syria. You are murdering history and who are you, anyway, to be lecturing Oxford University on how it should order its affairs? I understand the two of you originated in South Africa mentored by a black activist famed for declaring: “whites have to be killed.” One of you is the privileged son of a wealthy politician and a member of a party whose slogan is “Kill the Boer; Kill the Farmer.” Another of you, who is only in Oxford as a beneficiary of a Rhodes scholarship, has boasted about the need for “socially conscious black students” to “dominate white universities, and do so ruthlessly and decisively! Great. That’s just what Oxford University needs.
Some cultural enrichment from the land of Winnie Mandela, burning tire necklaces, an AIDS epidemic almost entirely the result of government indifference and ignorance, one of the world’s highest per capital murder rates, institutionalized corruption, tribal politics, anti-white racism, and a collapsing economy. Please name which of the above items you think will enhance the lives of the 22,000 students studying here at Oxford. And then please explain what it is that makes your attention-grabbing campaign to remove a listed statue from an Oxford college more urgent. More deserving than the desire of probably at least 20,000 of those 22,000 students to enjoy their time here unencumbered by the irritation of spoiled, ungrateful little tossers on scholarships. These Black Lives Matter nincompoops don’t hesitate using racial politics and cheap guilt-tripping to ruin the life and fabric of our beloved university. Understand us and understand this clearly: you have everything to learn from us; we have nothing to learn from you.