Cornell Students: the Word ‘Plantation’ Is Always Racist

Cornell Plantations (Photo:

A group of students at Cornell University is demanding that the school change the name of its botanical garden from “Cornell Plantations” because apparently, the word “plantation” is always racist.

The idea behind the protest is that the word evokes images of slavery. The demand to change it is just one of many demands in a seven-page document sent to the administration by Cornell Black Students United in November.

And it’s one that’s reportedly actually being considered: 

“Our staff and Advisory Council have been considering all aspects of our identity, our name, our mission and how our identity can best reflect what Cornell Plantations is — and does,” Christopher Dunn, director of the gardens, wrote in a piece for the Cornell Daily Sun.

The garden was named “Cornell Plantations” all the way back in 1944, according to a piece in Verdant Views, the plantations’ magazine. But according to Cornell Black Students United, it must be changed now. After all, the group claims that its demands must be met in order for the campus to be “conducive to the overall success of students of color.” 

#share#FYI: This word, which is apparently so harmful that it is actually, tangibly interfering with certain students’ abilities to succeed, is defined on as:


1. a usually large farm or estate, especially in a tropical or semitropical country, on which cotton, tobacco, coffee, sugar cane, or the like is cultivated, usually by resident laborers.

2. a group of planted trees or plants.

3. History/Historical

    a. a colony or new settlement

    b. the establishment of a colony or new settlement.

4. Archaic. the planting of seeds, young trees, etc.Adjective


5. (of clothing, furnishings, etc.) suitable for a plantation or for a tropical or semitropical country.

Notice that there is no mention of the word “slave” or “slavery.”

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