Letter: Past misdeeds don’t overshadow achievements

RE: Remove the Gandhi statue from Richcraft Hall, Nov. 9-15 As a passionate reader of history, I believe one thing that seems to be largely misunderstood in our generation, is the concept that our morals now are not the same as morals generations before. I notice now a trend where we seek to impose our morals on the past, which simply did not have them. A constant throughout history is the cliquish nature of humanity, the having of an in-group and an out-group, which will often be based along ethnic or racial lines. Let us remember Gandhi, as well as the founders of our country, and most individuals in all of history existed before the word ‘racism’ was in common use. […]

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Letter: Remove the Gandhi statue from Richcraft Hall

Standing firmly between Richcraft Hall (formerly the River Building) and Steacie Building is a statue of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. More popularly known as “Gandhi,” he is known around the world as the anti-colonial leader who (supposedly) brought an end to the British colonization of India single-handedly. In the West, many argue he is one of the greatest individuals to ever tread this earth-that he is the activist who guided India to its independence through the application of his now well-known philosophy of non-violence. Yet, it is insufficient to state the obvious about Gandhi without questioning the legacy of the man we have collectively placed on a moral pedestal. Gandhi was a racist. He utilised anti-Black racism as a weapon to […]

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Editorial: Consider and learn about problematic histories

Egerton Ryerson was an important figure in Canadian education. He played a key role in the creation of a free public education system in Ontario, and had a huge impact in shaping the way our education system worked. He was also instrumental in creating the residential school program, a program that forced Indigenous children from their homes into abusive environments in an effort to strip them of their Indigenous heritage and assimilate them into Canadian society. An estimated 150,000 children were forced to attend residential schools, and the last one wasn’t closed until 1996. This past July, the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) called for the renaming of Ryerson University and the removal of a statue of Ryerson, prompting a larger […]

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Letter: Revising history requires replacing legacies

Northern and liberal (one might almost say ‘Yankee’) outrage at the perpetuation of southern confederate mythology raised a number of eyebrows this summer after events in Charlottesville. The counter-reaction, the new-right demonstration in the streets shouting ‘white power’ and a crude translation of the old Joseph Goebbels line “Blut und Boden” (blood and soil), rightfully alarmed everyone. Yet, in this righteous fury, the anger was mysteriously directed less at the perpetrators than at their symbols. Clearly the mob subconsciously finds it easier to attack a swastika than the man wearing it. In addition to the statue of Robert E. Lee-a symbol of the old-right that looks increasingly moderate compared to the more recent brand, which some have attempted to call […]

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What’s in a name? Canadians debate the memorialization of historic figures

Calls to have controversial figures stripped off buildings or monuments have grown in strength recently, and university campuses haven’t gone unscathed. Today, the Indigenous peoples of Canada still challenge the glorification of historical figures who once condemned their cultures and their ancestors. This manifests itself through the multitude of post-secondary institutions, buildings, monuments, and streets that memorialize public figures who were involved in the systematic genocide of Indigenous identity, heritage and population. Recently, a debate has sparked about the renaming and removal of these memorials and the repercussions that surround it. Bruce Elliott, a history professor at Carleton who specializes in 18th and 19th century history, points out that a lot of monuments and buildings were actually erected by white […]

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