Vancouver Sun

KIPLING vs. Angelou


IF By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too.

Rudyard Kipling’s poem If has been scrubbed off a wall by university students in Manchester, England, who claim he was a “racist.” An artist painted the poem on a wall at the Manchester Students Union but other students were enraged and demanded it be removed. Sara Khan, the liberation and access officer at the students union said: “We, as an exec team, believe that Kipling stands for the opposite of liberation, empowermen­t, and human rights — the things that we, as an SU, stand for. Well-known as author of the racist poem The White Man’s Burden, and a

STILL I RISE By Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

plethora of other work that sought to legitimate the British Empire’s presence in India and de-humanize people of colour, it is deeply inappropri­ate to promote the work of Kipling in our SU, which is named after prominent South African anti-Apartheid activist, Steve Biko. As a statement on the reclamatio­n of history by those who have been oppressed by the likes of Kipling for so many centuries, and continue to be to this day, we replaced his words with those of the legendary Maya Angelou, a black female poet and civil rights activist.”

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