And as historian Patrick French points out, this isn't merely one of those "Let's remember grandpa was born in a different age" kind of situations, because Gandhi's views on Africans were pretty racist even for his time. In his correspondences, he referred to native South Africans as "Kaffirs," the N-word for people who thought the N-word was a bit too progressive, and said that Indians were "infinitely superior" to the African race. So it's no wonder that African students didn't want to gaze up at a man who wrote "About the mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians, I must confess I feel most strongly" on their way to the campus mixer.
The statue's protest is only part of an emerging movement to expose Gandhi's far-from-divine sides, and that's a bit awkward, to say the least. Gandhi's resistance to oppression and racism was a great inspiration to many later civil rights heroes, most notably Dr. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. So finding out that the man spent a great deal of his life with the same kind of views that come free with a Confederate flag tattoo and a pair of truck nuts can a hard pill to swallow. But the very smallest lesson to take away from this is that nobody's perfect -- at least, not perfect enough to have their historical butt encased in stone just anywhere.