In the future you will be ridiculed for what you believe today. That’s the story happening all over the world, as contemporary politics from Princeton University to Ghana reconsider the past and — in the process — obliterate former heroes. It’s what the tech industry would call disruption, where progress can be made only by destruction of the status quo. At Princeton, to name just one example, a campaign to erase the imprint of former university and US President Woodrow Wilson for his racist beliefs continues.
Now in Ghana, a statue of Gandhi at a university is being challenged because of the allegedly racist views Gandhi expressed as a young lawyer in South Africa. The statue, recently installed as a symbol of Ghana’s longstanding friendly relations with India, has drawn protests from professors and students who believe Gandhi’s flaws are greater than his legacy as a revolutionary and an icon of non-violent protest. Some have expressed that the university would be better served by a statue of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president. Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is trying to calm the protests, reminding contemporary students and teachers that “people evolve” and that Gandhi’s insensitive views aren’t the whole of the man. “The Ministry is urging Ghanaians to look beyond the comments attributed to Mahatma Gandhi and acknowledge his role as one of the most outstanding personalities of the last century.”