Though impossible, Georgetown University is attempting to make amends for its ties to slavery.
On Thursday, the university issued a sort of detailed apology. While educating university students and the public on its past, and our country’s past, is necessary, one new measure in the apology makes no sense whatsoever. Politico reports:
Georgetown University — the nation’s oldest Catholic university — announced Thursday it will apologize for its “historical ties” to slavery, including its sale of 272 slaves to southern plantations in 1838 to keep the school afloat.
In addition, the Washington, D.C.,-based university will give preferential admissions treatment to those slaves’ descendants, create an institute to study slavery and rename two campus buildings — one for an enslaved African-American man and the other for an African-American educator who belonged to a Catholic religious order…
Creating an institute to study slavery and renaming buildings? Those are excellent ideas. Openly “giving preferential admissions treatment” to descendants of slaves is another thing entirely.
Most people would support giving reparations to those directly affected by slavery. That is, slaves and their immediate families at the time horrors occurred. However, those horrors are centuries past. The best we can do is study and learn from the past, and be sure we never repeat it.
Giving preferential admissions treatment is a wrong move on many levels. It is a cheap attempt by the university to soothe its own feelings under the veil of caring. That is the chief goal. Also, it gives a false sense of congratulation to the students it would award with this treatment. The current acceptance rate at Georgetown is 16.4%. It’s an achievement to be accepted, and students should be awarded with acceptance only based on academic merit. The descendants of these 272 slaves who do apply and are accepted based on their achievements alone would do more to right the wrongs of the university’s past than the university could ever do on its own. And if slavery bothered the university so much, shouldn’t that new admissions treatment apply to anyone whose ancestors were slaves?
If Georgetown had felt sorrowful for its ties to slavery, they would have attempted to address them much earlier. However, the reason is clear for their recent announcement:
The high-profile shootings of young black men in Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere have spurred race-based activism on America’s campuses at a level unseen since the 1960s. Georgetown joins more than a dozen other universities that have publicly acknowledged their ties to slavery…
Leave it to liberals, especially in academia, to misunderstand history’s lessons and misdirect the attempts to correct them.