While Paris was bleeding, the predicted anti-white black student power play spread from its origins at Yale and the University of Missouri to 23 other campuses (so far). None of the new outbreaks of victim-mongering, black-dictated apartheid and outrageous demands had any more justification than the Mizzou Meltdown, but they all entered the competition. Some highlights:
- Amherst students demanded a crack-down on any free speech in the form of criticism of Black Lives Matters or the protest goals.
- Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matters members roamed through the campus library, verbally assaulting white students attempting to study.
- Smith College held a sit-in, and barred reporters-–the new breed of campus freedom-fighters just don’t like that pesky First Amendment—unless they promised to cover the protest positively. There’s one more school that doesn’t teach basic American rights and values….
- Occidental College is in the middle of a me-too imitation of the Mizzou stunt, with students occupying a three-story administration building all this week, demanding that a series of actions ranging from racist to just unreasonable to oppressive, in the name of “safety” and “diversity”, of course. They are also insisting that President Jonathan Veitch resign. Predictably, the leftist faculty which helped make the students this way are fully supportive. Read the demands here; my favorites: demanding an increase in tenured black professors and black doctors (a racist demand: there is no mention of ability; color is enough); funding for the student group for black men, which is racist and counter-diverse by definition; and “elimination of military and police rhetoric from all documents and daily discourse.”
Freedom of speech is so passe.
- The crazy is getting stronger: The University of Vermont-–from the lands where Bernie Sanders roams— hosted a three-day retreat for students who “self-identify as white,” called “Examining White Privilege: A Retreat for Undergraduate Students Who Self-Identify as White.” The goal was to give students “the opportunity” to “conceptualize and articulate whiteness from a personal and systemic lens” and “recognize and understand white privilege from an individual experience.” This, I submit, has absolutely nothing to do with education, and everything to do with self-obsession and narcissism.
Ah, but my favorite is Princeton, which finding itself third among its fellow Ivies (as usual), this time in concocting an embarrassing and offensive student protest, decided to go for broke.This week, members of the Black Justice League walked out of class and occupied the building that houses the Princeton administration’s offices. They demanded that the school reject “the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson,” formerly president of Princeton before becoming a President of the United States and Democratic Party icon, by removing his name from anything bearing it. They also demanded “cultural competency training” for Princeton professors and assistants (that is, forced re-education and ideological brainwashing, academia style) teaching at Princeton, courses on the “history of marginalized people,” that is, approved leftist narratives, and the setting aside of public spaceto be restricted to the use and enjoyment of black students only, which is properly called self-segregation and racist exclusion.
After initial resistance, University President Christopher Eisgruber, a weenie, agreed to somewhat modified versions of the demands, thus surrendering any integrity or legitimacy Princeton might have as an objectively and responsibly run institution. Once that standard is set, there is no going back. Eisgruber is a disgrace and a failure as a leader and an educator. His capitulation betrays his duty to students, alumni, and even the demonstrators, who are receiving a warped lesson full of false assumptions that are likely to cripple their prospects of success after graduating into a world that is less “safe” than Princeton.
Most disturbing to me, however, is for an educator to endorse Stalin-style historical airbrushing and cultural bulldozing, which pose a clear danger to our culture and values. The mob-mentality advocating erasing the legacies of important historical and cultural figures who no longer measure up to current tastes in political correctness and ideological certitudes became a raging fever after the South Carolina church shooting this year by a Confederate Flag-waving racist. Like Rhett Butler shooting the pony his young daughter was riding before her fatal accident, everyone went on an anti-Confederate symbols vendetta that soon spread from flags to generals to statesmen. I covered the progression here, here, here, and here.
I also saw Woodrow’s peril, way back in June:
“South Carolina’s Senator John C. Calhoun was one of the three legislative giants, along with Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, who dominated the nation’s policy debates in the pre-war period. In Minnesota, activists are demanding that a lake named after him be renamed. If Calhoun is to be dishonored, why wouldn’t the same logic sweep out Clay, who crafted the compromises that allowed slavery to creep into the territories, or even slave-holding Presidents like Polk, Jackson, Monroe, Jefferson and George Washington?
Working forward, surely Woodrow Wilson can’t escape historical airbrushing off the scene. There is a prestigious Woodrow Wilson Policy Center, and his home is a public attraction, like Washington’s, Jackson’s and Jefferson’s—shutter them: “Black Lives Matter.” The Rockefeller family-restored Colonial Williamsburg is a monument to slavery as much as anything else: turn it into a non-racist shopping center. While we’re at it, let’s change the name of the racist Rockefeller Center, too.
Oh, come on, Jack: it’s not that bad!
Oh yeah? A CNN anchor asked whether or not the Jefferson Memorial should come down, because, I gather “Black Lives Matter” more than the Declaration of Independence.”
I have a friend, a scholar, a lawyer, and a Democrat, who chided me on Facebook over the summer for suggesting that this could reach as far as Jefferson, and accused me of engaging in wild hyperbole. Since then, the Connecticut Democratic Party has purged the names and images of President Andrew Jackson and Jefferson from its annual dinner. Now Wilson is being expunged from the college he led, and that once honored him as its most distinguished alumnus, because a group of students, who I doubt know much more about Wilson than the undeniable fact that he was an unapologetic racist, decided to inject a different brand of racism into campus life.
For educators to allow historical and cultural censorship of this sort warrants the sounding of the loudest cultural ethics alarms. What I wrote in June is still true:
You have to honor what deserved and deserves to be honored, or history becomes merely political propaganda, useful only to support current political agendas. A nation that doesn’t honor and respect its history has no history.
And, I would add, a nation that has no history is lost.
The students are arrogant and wrong. Woodrow Wilson was a racist, and those of us who are historically literate knew it long before the Democratic spin-machine stopped its partisan historians from promoting the lie that he was among our greatest Presidents. Nonetheless, he served the nation faithfully as a President of the United States, did what he believed was in the best interests of the nation, led it through a wold war and destroyed his health and mind in the quest for a U.S. led prescription for world peace.
We cannot fail to honor our past Presidents because the passage of time proves them wrong, and because their particular wrong especially offends a group with the momentary power and opportunity to strike back at a dead leader who didn’t have the benefit of their hindsight. Every single President of the United States deserves to be honored for taking on the job—the often killing, thankless, impossible job—of leading this ambitious, cantankerous, contentious and sprawling land. Every one of them, even in failure, contributed something positive and lasting to our history and strength. Choosing one negative, even unforgivable aspect of their terms in office to justify dishonoring and forgetting them is dangerous and foolish.
Not one President lacks serious blemishes on his record; which are more serious and disqualifying for honor and respect depends only on an individual’s priorities, or an individual’s ignorance. These leaders signify the progress and the struggle, so far a victorious struggle, of a great nation.
If Princeton won’t stand firm for the memory of Woodrow Wilson, the legacy of George Washington is no longer secure. That is not merely troubling. It is frightening.