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72 things higher ed declared racist in 2023

ANALYSIS: Actual racism is rare today, but academia continues to find it

Racism is still alive and well in society – if you ask academia.

The College Fix reported on 72 things this year that were declared racist or in need of “anti-racist” action, thus indicating they currently suffer from racism.


Not wearing a mask


Robert E. Lee’s horse

Black people

Black cops who killed black man

Cops and robbers display that included a black student as a robber

Black Communist who liked white composers

Senator Tim Scott


Clean pantries


Fast food industry




Edgar Allen Poe’s work

“To Kill a Mockingbird”


Body Mass Index

Healthcare in general

Medical recordkeeping

Public health departments

Movies and entertainment


Disney “Zombies” trilogy



Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Verdi

“The Eyes of Texas”

“Try That in a Small Town”

Not liking rap

Elementary music classes

Music education programs


The American flag

The Gadsen flag

Museum collections


Art therapy


The Apostle Paul

The Michigan Technological University Young Americans for Freedom chapter for putting up a fake Berlin wall

Justice Antonin Scalia


President Abe Lincoln

Governor Ron DeSantis

President Donald Trump

Nathan Bedford Forrest

Ambassador Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Vice President Mike Pence, Governor Chris Christie


The outdoors

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University


Botanical gardens

Geologist field camps

Rules/law enforcement

Princeton’s Honor Code

Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a gang database

Wanting more police officers


Kansas City Chiefs



White paint



New York City Liberal Arts and Sciences Test






Dating apps

White people

Whiteness/white people



White paper


Word limits

Admissions essay word limit

Special mention

One person and his center were not officially declared racist but deserve special mention. Professor Ibram Kendi has taught that “[a] racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups,” according to his book “How to be an Antiracist.”

But his Center for Antiracist Research mostly fired racial minority employees, according to a College Fix analysis. Even though his center presumably was more inclined to hire racial minorities, by his own standard that makes his center racist.

It gets more complicated though. Black academics, such as Saida Grundy, left the center due to mismanagement of grant money and a culture of fear, as reported by Inside Higher Ed. However, Kendi said that criticism of black leaders of organizations is “racist.” By Kendi’s logic then, that makes Professor Grundy, who is black, a racist, against black people.

Racism, treating someone differently due to their race, is wrong. But thankfully, actual racism is increasingly rare.

Editor’s noteThe article has been updated to clarify there are 72 items on the list.

MORE: There were 19 campus hate crime hoaxes in 2023

IMAGES: U.S. Senate; Office of the President-Elect; Rachel Gonzalez/Flicker; JCphoto/Getty Images; Public domain; Mentaji/Flickr; Harper Perennial/ Walmart; Chuck Collier; Granddriver

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.