Showing posts with label racism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label racism. Show all posts

Thursday, June 11, 2020

LSU removes Middleton's name from university library--good. But let's expose all the famous bigots in American higher education--including the ones at Harvard, Stanford, and M.I.T.

Louisiana State University announced that it is changing the name of the university's main library. The library was named after Troy H. Middleton, a genuine hero of World War II and L.S.U.'s president from 1951 to 1962. Unfortunately, by present-day standards, Mr. Middleton was a racist. Mr. Middleton was a bit like Nicholas II, Russia's last czar, who didn't get the memo from the Bolsheviks.

L.S.U.'s current interim president, Tom Galligan, explained the reasons for the change. "Our goal is to erase symbols of things that exemplify a racist past," Galligan stated.
Any student, or particularly a student of color, that has to go into any building which bears the name of someone not identified with progress and [instead] with racist traditions is to inhibit their education. They won't feel safe in that building.
President Galligan is right. It is simply unacceptable to require African Americans to study in buildings that were named after prominent racists.  But I think America's education leaders should widen their examination of our nation's chauvinistic past and expose all famous people in American history who were prejudiced against not only African Americans but Catholics and eastern Europeans as well.

As Thomas Leonard revealed in his book Illiberal Reformers, almost all American intellectuals and political leaders in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were eugenicists. By definition, these people supported efforts to reduce so-called inferior racial strains from America's predominately white, Anglo-Saxon population.

Francis A. Walker, president of M.I.T. (1881-1897), was a eugenicist who was prejudiced against eastern and southern Europeans. Anderson Dixon White, president of Cornell  University(1866-1885), portrayed European immigrants as barbarian invaders. David Starr Jordan, president of Stanford from 1891 to 1913, held similar views.

Moreover, American intellectuals during this period were almost universally prejudiced against Catholics. For example, Christopher Columbus Langdell, Dean of Harvard Law School (1870-1895), refused to admit graduates from Catholic colleges to Harvard Law School.

Harvard's president, Charles William Eliot, supported Langdell's bigoted policy, claiming it was based on the inferior quality of Catholic colleges and not prejudice. Was President Eliot himself an anti-Catholic bigot?  You bet. On a trip to Europe in the mid-1860s, he wrote: "I hate Catholicism as I do poison, and all the pomp and power of the Church is depressing and mortifying me."

Racial and religious prejudice among American intellectuals during the Progressive era is well documented, and yet we are not renaming buildings that were named after prominent bigots.  Harvard's law library is still named after Dean Langdell.  Stanford still has a campus building named after David Starr Jordan. Walker Memorial at M.I.T. still honors its eugenicist president.

So here is my plea to American higher education. Yes, scrub the names of racists from campus buildings. But don't settle for outing Confederates and relatively obscure guys like Mr. Middleton.  Change the names of buildings that honor prominent eugenicists and religious bigots, including the buildings at Stanford, Cornell, Harvard, and M.I.T.

That's a big job, so you better get started.

Christopher Columbus Langdell: Bigot-in-Chief at Harvard Law School (1870-1895)





Wednesday, June 3, 2020

George Floyd gets 3 funerals: Who mourns the death of 2 black police officers?

Many years ago, I was driving on a lonely stretch of highway in northeast Louisiana when I was stopped for speeding by a Madison Parish deputy sheriff. The officer was polite and didn't threaten me in any way. Nevertheless, it was dark when I got pulled over, and I was a little frightened.

I suppose you could say it was an edifying experience because I never speeded through rural Louisiana again. In fact, I  gradually gave up speeding altogether because I didn't want to scare the hell out of myself by getting pulled over by a Southern cop.

Cops scare me, and I don't mess with them. I don't know anyone who does.

 I don't feel entitled to disobey a cop because I am a middle-class, white guy. Unlike a couple of attorneys in New York City, I don't feel privileged to throw a firebomb into a police cruiser simply because I have a law degree.

George Floyd's death is an outrage. The killing of any unarmed black man while in police custody is a tragedy. But I do not believe our nation's police departments are packed with racists. I agree with the Wall Street Journal editorial board, which said yesterday that "[a] solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing [of African Americans]."

Hysterical and baseless charges of endemic police racism have made cops vulnerable to violence.  David Dorn, a retired St. Louis police officer, was shot and killed by a looter while guarding a friend's pawn shot. A video shows him lying in his own blood on a sidewalk.  People were filming his mortal distress, but I didn't see anyone try to help him. Dorn was black.

Patrick Underwood, a federal security officer, was shot to death a few days ago while guarding a federal building in Oakland. Underwood was black.  

Mr. Floyd will have funerals in three states: Minnesota, North Carolina, and Texas. I'm sure Mr. Underwood and Mr. Dorn will have just one funeral.

Over the past week, more than a hundred law enforcement officers have been injured while they were trying to preserve public order and stop arson, looting, and vandalism.  Some of them are men. Some of them are women. Many of them are white, but some of them are black.

I don't know about you, but I'm in favor of "domestic tranquility"--the domestic tranquility that our Constitution promises to promote. And we won't have domestic tranquility if a significant portion of our population believes that attacking a police officer is justified as an act of civil disobedience.



David Dorn, retired police officer








Friday, February 10, 2017

President Trump and the Democrats: Washington DC has become a kindergarten

A few moments ago, I watched a video showing protesters blocking Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos from entering a public school--a school where she was scheduled to attend a meeting with educators. The video clip wasn't long but I saw one guy shouting at her and I saw someone trying to block Secretary DeVos's vehicle as she was being driven away.  You should watch this video.

In only a matter of weeks, Washington DC has turned into a giant kindergarten. I suppose President Trump bears part of the blame. He has a distressing tendency to lash out at his detractors with tweet messages that only give his most unreasonable critics publicity and credibility. I wish he would take the high road and simply ignore his hysterical attackers.

But I blame the Democrats for plunging political discourse to the level of a playschool.  The Democrats behaved like children during the nomination process for President Trump's cabinet choices. Why did they do that, knowing that the President had the votes to get them all confirmed?

It would be hard to choose the chief tantrum thrower, but I give my vote to Senator Elizabeth Warren. She showed a shocking level of immaturity when she insinuated on the floor of the Senate that Jeff Sessions, one of her colleagues, is a racist.

A lot of people are upset about Donald Trump being our President. I understand that. But disappointment is no reason for political leaders to jettison civility in public discourse. What will that accomplish?

Furthermore, I believe there is bipartisan support around solving several important public policy problems. As I have already written, surely everyone from Senator Mitch McConnell to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi can agree that the government should not be garnishing the Social Security checks of elderly student-loan defaulter.s  And if I'm right about that, why can't Republicans and Democrats unite around the McCaskill-Warren bill to stop that practice?

Over my lifetime, I have dealt with a lot of people who behaved boorishly toward me, tried to bully me, or behaved deceitfully toward me; and those people upset me. But I learned that I was always better off to retain my dignity and to respond to unprofessional behavior in a reasonable and straightforward manner.

Trump's detractors  seem to think that behaving like kindergarten children is the appropriate way to show their dissatisfaction with the 2016 election results. But they are wrong. If the Democrats don't pull themselves together and begin to behave like grownups, this nation is headed for real trouble--and I don't mean just political trouble.




Monday, May 23, 2016

Froma Harrop insinuates that Bernie Sanders is a racist: Is Froma pimping for Hillary?

The media elite are furious that Bernie Sanders won't go away and that he continues to win primary elections. And some journalists have resorted to making wild accusations about Sanders and his campaign.

Froma Harrop's piece, which appeared last week, is particularly nasty. Appearing under a headline entitled "Bernie Sanders and Racism Lite,' Harrop insinuated that Bernie's campaign is associated with racism. She even accused "Sanders' white posses" of "invading campaign events of other presidential contenders, including Donald Trump rallies. But Harrop cited no evidence to support such a charge.

The liberal media can't have it both ways. Most liberal commentators argue that Trump's rallies are disrupted because Trump incites violence by his message and tone. But now Harrop suggests that it is those nasty Bernie supporters who are causing all the ruckus.

She also cynically interpreted Bernie's observation that his rallies were largely peaceful even when held in "high crime areas."  According to Harrop, "high crime areas" is a veiled reference to African American neighborhoods.

Harrop admits--as she must--that Bernie has a "staunch civil rights record." Indeed, Bernie was arrested in 1963 for participating in a civil rights protest against segregated schools in Chicago; and he was active in the Congress On Race Equality (CORE) during the 1960s. Does Hillary have a comparable civil rights record? No, she does not.

Perhaps the most ridiculous part of Harrop's hatchet job on Bernie was her insinuation that he moved to Vermont, which she described as "the whitest state in the nation," for racist reasons. Vermont, Harrop confides, "had become a safe haven for liberals leaving--the word then was 'fleeing'--the cities."

What a pile of horse manure! A great many states have low minority populations--Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Vermont, Maine. Is Harrop suggesting that people who move to those states are a bunch of racists? If that's true, then pack me to a re-education camp because I lived in Alaska for nine years during the 1980s.

In my view, Harrop is one of a band of panting puppies eager to assist Hillary Clinton clinch the Democratic presidential nomination by denigrating Bernie Sanders--the only genuinely decent candidate left in the race. Cokie and Steve Roberts performed a similar service for Hillary in an op ed essay as did Frank Bruni of the New York Times, who suggested that Bernie was a sore loser because he didn't drop out of the race for president.

But it is the liberal media elites who are the sore losers. And what they have lost is the public's respect for their journalistic integrity. And that's why millions of Americans have decided to think for themselves during this election cycle instead of allowing CNN, the New York Times, and journalistic lap dogs like Froma Harrop to do their thinking for them.

I hate to break the news to you, Froma, but a lot of Americans find Hillary totally unacceptable as a president; and insinuating that Bernie is a racist is not the way to persuade Americans to change their minds.

Who is that guy?
References

Frank Bruni. The Cult of Sore Losers. New York Times, April 26, 2016. Accessible at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/27/opinion/the-cult-of-sore-losers.html?_r=0

Froma Harrop. Bernie Sanders and Racism Lite. Seattle Times, May 19, 2016. Accessible at http://www.seattletimes.com/author/froma-harrop/

Tim Murphy. Here's What Bernie Sanders Actually Did In the Civil Rights Movement. Mother Jones, February 11, 2016. Accessible at http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2016/02/bernie-sanders-core-university-chicago



Friday, November 13, 2015

When the mouse is away, the cats will play or (to mix my metaphors) the nannies have put the children in charge of the nursery at American colleges and universities

"When the mouse is away, the cats might play," Churchill remarked about one of his political colleagues. I believe he was speaking of Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who sealed the Munich Pact with Hitler. (And we know how that turned out.)

I thought of Churchill's line as I contemplated recent events at the University of Missouri, a fine public university with one of the best journalism programs in the United States. As everyone listening to the news now knows, Timothy Wolfe, Mizzou's president, stepped down after being accused of inadequate sensitivity to racism on the university campus.

This incident follows similar outbreaks of hysteria on other university campuses, including distinguished institutions like Yale and Dartmouth.

Apparently, there is a general perception among college students, the elite media, and even the Obama administration that America's college campuses are bastions of sexism and racism.  It is said that one in five college women are victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault and that minority students are repeatedly victimized by racist slurs.

Personally, I don't believe it. America's colleges and universities have many sins to answer for, but racism and sexism are not among them. No senior university administrator would last a moment in the politically correct atmosphere of academia if he or she said or did anything that could even remotely be considered as being insensitive on matters of race or gender.

In fact, the nation's college communities are in a frenzied debate about bathroom etiquette. Back in the Neanderthal age (20 years ago), benighted Americans thought that men should go to the men's bathrooms and women should use the women's bathrooms.  But now that simple rule has been undermined by people who are oh so much more sensitive than you or me.

And Christian student groups, once seen as inoffensive and perhaps even moral paragons, are now being kicked off campus by such prestigious institutions as Berkeley and Bowdoin. Mustn't allow Christians, with their benighted views on family life, to be recognized as a student group. They might pollute the rarefied atmosphere of our enlightened universities.

So if universities have turned their attention to toilet rules and to booting Christians off their campuses, I can't imagine that college administrators are insensitive to the very important issues of gender and race.

My guess is that President Wolfe did not resign out of shame about his insensitivity to racism.  He just said to hell with it.

I will make one final point about the witch-trial atmosphere of American colleges and universities, and it is this: Apparently no one at our higher education institutions has a remote notion of what free speech and academic freedom mean.

Worse than that, we've allowed students to tell professors and administrators what these concepts mean. If indeed college students know more than their teachers about academic freedom and our precious right to freedom of speech than their instructors and deans, why in the hell are students paying $40 grand a year to get a college education?

The University of Missouri imbroglio is not a new phenomenon. Tom Wolf's essay "Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers" was written more than 40 years ago, and it describes exactly the kind of behavior that we see at the University of Missouri.  Our college leaders either don't understand the principles of civil discourse and academic freedom or they are so cowardly that they will submit to being lectured on racial civility by their uncouth and ignorant students.  Or perhaps both.

Personally, if I were mom or pop, I would consider telling my kids to skip college altogether. Certainly, no one should borrow money simply to buy a seat in a guerrilla theater. And any university alum who makes a monetary donation to an American college or university is a fool.


Neville Chamberlain: Sensitive to Hitler's point of view