Another December, another month of remembrance and celebration at Georgetown. No, I am not talking about some inconsiderate and alienating Christmas celebration. I have long come to accept that the few remaining Jesuits would insist on marking the “birth” of “Jesus”.
Rather, I'm referring to last Thursday, December 3rd, which marked a far more sinister anniversary. John Carroll, the Jesuit founder of Georgetown, died then, and this year marks the 200th anniversary.
It is time Georgetown reconciles with its past and ends this yearly celebration of a man so undeserving of any place in history.
That a place as vile as Georgetown, and with as soiled a past as it has, should celebrate an old, dead, abled, cisgender, heterosexual, rich white male, ought to have immediately been a cause for concern. While Carroll is remembered as some kindly, old Jesuit who magnanimously founded Georgetown and has great hair, even a cursory examination of history tells a darker story and why we as a University should turn our backs on him.
First, it begs to be noted that founding Georgetown was not much of an accomplishment in its own right. There were already Catholics in Maryland. There was already a town called Georgetown. Carroll simply appropriated this culture for his own ends. Really, by establishing a Catholic university in an existent town with Catholics, Carroll was insinuating that the native people were in need of a Catholic education. This Catholic-centric thought process only invalidates the very real and very complex culture of the indigenous peoples.
In the end, he attempted a forced conversion to Catholicism of the local students who attended his “university.” Instead of teaching the subjects that really matter, such as Women’s Studies, he indoctrinated hundreds into his noxious ideology of Catholic oppression.
Worse, he embarked on a grand scheme to displace the people of Georgetown. When Carroll first arrived, the indigenous people showed him great kindness and welcomed him.
Yet they could scarcely imagine what he would do to them.
Since the time of his first arrival, whole blocks of Georgetown have been annexed by the University. The proud and native peoples find themselves slowly being crowded out of their ancestral homelands. Even the land the University hasn’t yet claimed is disturbed on a daily basis by intemperate students. The few natives still remaining are harassed and mistreated on a daily basis.
Perhaps the worst claim against John Carroll is his aggressive enslavement of others. Not only did the Jesuits have slaves, but Carroll himself had a personal slave. Georgetown even allowed students to bring their own slaves to school! One might say Carroll did not found a school of learning, but a racist school of slavery.
And how does the school remember this disgusting man? Instead of being erased from history, he has various scholarships and a fellows program named after him. A statue honoring him is in the middle of campus.
So please, let's not allow the white, imperialist, racist, slave master Carroll be honored any more with a statue in the center of campus. Let's not have the John Carroll Scholarships or Carroll Fellows program.
Instead, let us remember all those on whom the Catholics trampled: let us instead celebrate Indigenous and Aggrieved/Oppressed Peoples of Georgetown Day, every December 3rd, kind of like how we remember Columbus Day (another evil man, just like John Carroll).
And let’s chop the head off the John Carroll statue. Or the very least, dump a can of pink paint on him.