Hostile Environment; or Stained Glass What the Fuck?

For generations, African-American employees and students have had to eat in the dining hall of a residential college — named, then and (stubbornly) now, for slavery advocate John C. Calhoun — and stare up at this stained glass window:

{Image: stained glass window showing a man and woman, both with dark skin, in 19th century clothing, standing in a cotton field, each with a basket of cotton on their head.}

It simply defies comprehension that this was allowed to remain.   The thought of trying to work, learn, teach, or even eat in the presence of this rights-erasing, humanity-denying decor makes me disgusted beyond words.  It would be like having a stained glass window of a gas chamber, torture device, or sanitarium.

I have previously blogged about Things That Are Inexplicably OK, like tenured Princeton professors advocating infanticide of disabled kids or a sports team in our nation’s capital named after a racist epithet.  This is way up there with all that.  Another respected institution of higher learning, this one decorated with a depiction of slavery.

Until today!  Yale dishwasher and civil rights action hero Corey Manafee stuck a broomstick through it.  Window smashed; problem (at least the decor problem) solved.

“I took a broomstick, and it was kind of high, and I climbed up and reached up and broke it,” he said. “It’s 2016, I shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that.”

“I just said, ‘That thing’s coming down today. I’m tired of it,’” he added. “I put myself in a position to do it, and did it.”

Damn right you shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that.  My view is: every African-American who has had to work or study in that space has a hostile environment claim.

But Corey Menafee enters my personal Civil Rights Getting Shit Done Hall of Fame, along with Bree Newsome, who climbed up a flagpole and took down the Confederate flag, and the mayor of New Paltz, New York, who started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples (for a brief time until he was ordered to stop) in 2004.

Don’t wait for permission to do the right thing; just get shit done.

One thought on “Hostile Environment; or Stained Glass What the Fuck?

  1. BlueLoom

    You go, Corey! If I were a stained-glass artist, I would volunteer to create a new window for the dining hall. And if Corey loses his job, let’s hope the hive mind of the internet will help him find a new one.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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