What I like in this piece by John McWhorter about the Yale president's decision to keep the name of Calhoun College is the author's insistence that we can make judgments, draw lines, and discuss particular cases. We can thereby resist the all-too-prevalent leaping from concrete demands ("we must remove Calhoun's name on this residential college") to grand principles ("should we remove the names of all slave-holders from all buildings?").
That move, something to which I would say philosophers are especially prone, lends itself (I would say non-coincidentally) to facile slippery slopes ("what's next, remove the name of people who didn't educate their daughters properly?") and reductios ("so you're saying we should change the name of the capital city of the nation because Washington was a slave-holder?").
So, fellow philosophers, let's not be inveterate thread-jackers. Let's cultivate the capacity to stick to the topic and discuss concrete demands. If a significant movement arises that demands the removal of Washington's name from the capital city, we can discuss the merits of that demand. In the meantime, let's discuss Calhoun. (And if you're at Princeton, let's discuss Wilson.) There's nothing wrong with a series of concrete discussions.
And speaking of liberal pieties about "discussion" as ways to avoid, well, real discussion, it would be good to call the bluff of the "discussion" proponents. (The Yale president's ostensible reason for keeping Calhoun's name on the building was that it would foster "discussion.") Make Yale a 24/7/365 discussion zone about past, present, and future links between racism, slavery, reparations, student debt, public space and memorialization.
Let's have every single department be required to give a public presentation on their website about their discipline's perspectives -- in all its range of opinion and controversy -- on the above topics. From Anthropology and Architecture to Economics to Philosophy to Psychology to hell, Botany and Zoology (I would love to know what the lasting effects of the industrial plantation system had on the flora and fauna of the South, what effects the mills had on the Northeast, and so on).
The President wants "discussion"? Let's have him marshall the awesome resources of the Yale faculty and students and have a real "discussion."