A Modest Proposal

UC Berkeley’s law school recently changed its (unofficial) name from “Boalt Hall” to “Berkeley Law” because John Boalt, after whom the building that houses the law school was named, had “said racist things,” in the words of Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.

But how does referring to the school with the name of someone who not only said racist things, but also owned slaves, solve the problem?

The city of Berkeley is named for the notorious slave-owner Bishop George Berkeley (1685–1753), an Irish philosopher who took the opportunity provided by some years spent in Rhode Island to buy some of his fellow human beings and force them to labor on his plantation.

Continue reading