People in the face of their values, vices

People   are   great,   but   the   ideas   they   lived   their   lives   for   are   timeless   and   paramount   in comparison.   We   are   never   going   to   find   out   that   Liberty   was   a   slave   owner   or   that   Equality raped   potentially   dozens   of   women.  

When   we   name   our   buildings   after   people,   we   have   to make   a   compromise:   that   their   significance   and   achievement   outweighs   their   vices.   

But   when those   vices   are   antithetical   to   what   we   believe,   the   compromise   falls   short.   And   this   really   is   not an   if; dig   deep   enough   into   any   revered   figure   and   you   will   find   the   darkness   that   is   within   any human.   

Lincoln   could   be   accused   of   white   supremacy,   Dr.   King   of   homophobia,   Gandhi   of pedophilia   and   racism,   Mother   Teresa   of   medical   malpractice.  

 My   point   is   not   to   strike   our heroes   down,   but   to   acknowledge   that   we   humans   often   fall   short   of   our   ideals.   In   the   process   of renaming   our   buildings,   perhaps   we   should   consider   our   values   rather   than   figureheads   for them.   Of   course,   to   name   our   buildings   after   a   collection   of   mostly   wealthy   white   men   and   a   set of   beliefs   is   still   in   some   way   a   poor   representation   of   our   value   for   diversity,   but   there   is   surely   a middle   ground   to   be   found.


Alex Grejuc

Pre-computer science