Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Stop Celebrating Oppressors

The Oneonta Daily Star published the following letter submitted by Rebecca Longabucco of Ossining.
“Re: ‘Let’s Not Judge History’s Heroes by New Standards’ by Chuck Pinkey: Chuck Pinkey argues against de-monumentalizing historical figures who are now associated with racism and bigotry, claiming: ‘Thanks to the left, there are no heroes anymore.’
“But what if our new standards are the right ones?  And why can’t the people we now admire as social justice activists count as heroes?  Why is it so offensive that officials in San Francisco want to take ‘George Washington’ out of a public school name?  Is it not more offensive that Washington owned hundreds of slaves, promoting the notion that black people were property?  How would one of the estimated 46.3 million black people in this country (BlackDemographics.com) feel about attending a school with this name in the title?
“And then there is the matter of replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.  Who is more deserving of this recognition: the man who spawned the Trail of Tears, which resulted in widespread displacement and death among Cherokees — or the woman who helped lead thousands of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad? 
“Even if a practice we now condemn was accepted in a former era, this does not mean the action in question was moral at that time.  We can all agree that slavery and Native American marginalization were wrong, so instead of clinging to a corrupt tradition, we should view our current standards as innovations.
“Why make black students attend schools whose namesakes would have liked to deny them citizenship?  Why make Native Americans carry around bills with the image of a man who tried to destroy their ancestors’ culture? We need to consider the message we are sending to historically oppressed groups by perpetuating omnipresent celebrations of their oppressors.” 


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