A wide range of properties and portraits were suddenly deemed offensive because students, apparently, hadn’t realized that revered Founding Fathers owned slaves, and that most beloved and wealthy Americans born before the 20th century did not treat women, homosexuals, and people of color with great respect.As I've said before, I'm entirely OK with teaching history "warts and all", but it seems that too many people today focus only on the warts. As I once saw on the Facebook, "You are more than just your mistakes."
At Amherst college in Massachusetts efforts to rename the school’s unofficial mascot Lord Jeff picked up steam.
Students did not want to have a mascot honoring a British general, Lord Jeffery Amherst, who supported spreading smallpox to Native American during the French and Indian War.
There were more than a few objections to the noble fight, not least that removing the names of racist figures cannot rectify their past sins—nor does it help those in the present day understand history’s darker moments and complexities.
Removing admired statesman but horrendously pro-slavery John Calhoun’s name from a college at Yale, or racist but respected president and designer of the League of Nations Woodrow Wilson’s name from his school at Princeton, also do not rectify modern inequalities.
“It’s not doing the hard work of education,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law professor Alfred L. Brophy told The Daily Beast. “Once you do the renaming, everyone forgets.”
2015 also saw a ridiculous twist in the renaming battles. While there may be a legitimate debate over how to handle monuments and buildings named for people who are clearly racist, sexist, and homophobic by today’s standards, a group of students at a Pennsylvania college wanted a building renamed because the name merely sounded like a racially charged act.
At Lebanon Valley College, some students demanded that the campus building Lynch Memorial Hall be renamed.
The “lynch” in it is not to honor the brutal and often racist mob murders, but to pay tribute to a beloved college president, Clyde A. Lynch. That Lynch not only led the school through the Great Depression and World War II, but spent his last years helping displaced refugees resettle in the U.S.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Not "Warts and All", But "Just the Warts"
Why renaming places because the honored person didn't hold today's correct views is silly: