Political Correctness Must Fall


840629969_122163c283_jesusYoung man from the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa wins a prestigious scholarship, worth more than AUD $100,000 a year, to study law at Oriel College, Oxford. One might think his response is one of gratitude in being given an opportunity afforded only to nine people around the world each year. One might assume the young man might show some respect for the college, the university, and the man who left his fortune to endow the future learning of so many others. But no. This particular recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship, Ntokozo Qwabe, has no gratitude whatsoever for any of the institutions he is incredibly fortunate enough to be attending, and no respect whatsoever for Mr Rhodes, who died in 1902, or his descendants.

Mr Qwabe has, instead, commenced a loud and aggressive campaign, ‘RhodesMustFall,’ to have the statue of Cecil Rhodes removed from its prominent position at Oriel College, on the grounds Rhodes was a ‘racist’ and ‘international criminal.’ The campaign has been enthusiastically taken up by the easily offended culture warriors on campus and beyond, and has the University authorities rattled. Rather than defend its own benefactors and traditions, Oxford University instead put out a feeble statement saying it didn’t know what to do and expected (hoped) English Heritage, who have listed the Rhodes statue as being of historical value and importance, would make the decision for them. Such is the insidious malevolence of political correctness today that it even has the custodians of one of the most prestigious universities in the world trembling at the knees.

Cecil Rhodes was an imperialist. He may have said some racist things and he probably did things no one would condone or tolerate today. And isn’t that just the point. He was a man of his times. To judge him by today’s standards is to commit the fundamental error of historical anachronism, something one would think an academic institution of the calibre of Oxford University would abhor. For today’s students to be so offended and distressed at having to walk beneath the stony gaze of Rhodes, and so enraged by his alleged past actions, as to want to tear down the fine work of art that is his statue, is historical revisionism of the very worst order, and political correctness gone mad.

If Oxford University cave in, and allow this sort of immature frat house politics and campus crusading to become the new standard by which past figures are to be judged, then the line of workers carrying portraits, plaques and statues out of the 38 colleges of the University will be a very long one indeed. The statue of Cecil Rhodes should not fall, but the curse of political correctness certainly should. And the prize hypocrite who is Ntokozo Qwabe should, at the very least, either hand back the $100,000 or more he has already pocketed of Mr Rhodes’ scholarship money, or just say thank you and shut up.