Sunday, June 28, 2020

It's Time For UC Berkley To Change Its Name, NOW

And I propose the new name be "The University of Greater Oakland."

They've already changed the name of the law school building, Boalt Hall.
John Henry Boalt was an anti-Chinese racist.

Bad enough. George Berkeley on the other hand was a Slave OWNER.
Here's The Irish Times on Bishop Berkeley and Trinity College, Dublin:

Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 05:00 
What to do about George Berkeley, Trinity figurehead and slave owner? 
Unthinkable: Ireland’s most celebrated philosopher was ‘also extremely morally fallible’
As statues topple amid anti-racism protests, universities are looking at some of the hallowed names associated with their institutions with some nervousness. In Oxford, it’s Cecil Rhodes. In Dublin, one figure stands out: George Berkeley.

The Anglican bishop of Cloyne (1685-1753) is Ireland’s most celebrated philosopher. He has both a prestigious university and a city in the United States named after him. Domestically, he is synonymous with Trinity College Dublin (TCD), where his name is lent to a college library as well as the annual George Berkeley Gold Medals for top students and researchers.
Berkeley’s academic status is well earned; he is one of the few theologians of his time who is taken seriously by scientists and mathematicians. A pioneering student of perception, he is the man behind the old conundrum: if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?
But he has a stain on his record, as documented in 2001 by a group of graduate students from Yale, another university with strong links to “the good bishop”. In a report calling on Yale to face up to its troubled history, they describe in detail the Irish scholar’s purchase of a plantation at Rhode Island, having travelled across the Atlantic to set up a missionary project.
On October 4th, 1730, Berkeley purchased “a negro man named Philip aged 14 years or thereabout”. A few days later he purchased “a negro man named Edward aged 20 years or thereabouts”. The following year, “Dean Berkeley baptised three of his negroes, ‘Philip, Anthony, and Agnes Berkeley’”, the records show.
Berkeley justified slavery as a path to Christian conversion, and while his views were relatively orthodox at the time, there were contemporaries of his who strongly condemned the slave trade (among them compatriot Francis Hutcheson, as documented on Cathy Barry’s Irish Philosophy site).
Rhetorical nastiness’
You’re unlikely to find much about this in any philosophy textbook. Indeed, this reporter was unaware of Berkeley’s slave-owning past until a chance conversation with Clare Moriarty, an Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellow at TCD.

Moriarty recently published a paper on Berkeley’s role in mathematical debates in the wake of Isaac Newton’s revolutionary discoveries. Noting his reputation for “philosophical saintliness”, she revealed how Berkeley was anything but charitable when engaging with rival thinkers, deploying at times “rhetorical nastiness that would make a seasoned internet troll blush”.
“Figures like Berkeley and his companions on history of philosophy courses deserve our serious moral scrutiny,” Moriarty says. “Berkeley was unquestionably a great metaphysical thinker and brilliant writer, but he was also extremely morally fallible.”
Aside from supporting slavery, “in his later political work, he is pretty grim on the Irish peasantry too. In both cases, I regard him as a serious enough thinker that he should have been capable of the kind of reflection on slavery and humanity that, even back then, should have troubled him.”....

The administration of the University has known this history since its founding, it wasn't some recently discovered secret. Instead they ignored or even covered-up this bit of nastiness.
Remember our motto: "The less virtue, the more signaling." It is certainly true in this case.

Why "The University of Greater Oakland"?
Because of the demographics of the central Bay Area.

In the United States the African-American population is about 13.4% of the total.
( 2019 estimates, fresh numbers after the 2020 census is tallied)

San Francisco is 5.2% Black. Berkeley is 8.1% Black and Oakland is 20.0% Black
(note new AP Stylebook capitalized B in Black, w in white remains lowercase)

Because of the racist political history (it is deliberate) of the big northern west coast cities (S.F., Portland, Seattle) over the last 60 years, the opportunities afforded to white residents were not afforded to Black people who were excluded.
How this was accomplished is a post for another day but for now, change all those degrees from UC Berkeley to UC Greater Oakland.

As I said yesterday in Follow-Up: "Princeton Dumps Woodrow Wilson’s Name Over ‘Racist Thinking’", there are a lot of names on the list, we've only just begun.