Guest Post: While We’re On a Renaming Kick, Let’s Get Rid of Wilson, Yale, and Stanford

Sengbe Pieh

The names of those American military bases memorializing Confederate generals, like Fort Bragg in North Carolina or Fort Hood in Texas, have become fodder for the culture war. Despite the fact that some were capable commanders (many of those, it should be noted, were graduates of the Union’s military academy at West Point), the simultaneous fact that they fought for a cause now thought odious is considered by many to be grounds for erasing their names from those installations. I can personally think of valid arguments on both sides of the issue.

When it comes to renaming things, particularly with a political motivation, I’m reminded of something an Indian fellow who worked for an automotive vendor told me during the big Detroit auto show. He said that during one of India’s periodic waves of anti-colonial fervor, many public places had their English names replaced with something in Hindi or another of India’s many native tongues. “Locals still call it Victoria Station,” he laughed. I know the guy whose bank spent millions of dollars to rename Detroit’s convention center after activists publicized former Mayor Cobo’s less than enlightened attitude about black and white folks living in the same neighborhoods. When I ran into him at a take-out place after the renaming I told him, “Gary, no matter how much money you spent, people will be calling it Cobo Hall for decades. My mom would call Tiger Stadium “Navin Field.”

Since we’re now on this righteous renaming crusade, besides removing the honors for General Hood and his confederates, I can think of a few outstanding institutions whose renaming would make a strong statement against racism and those who propagated it in the past.

First on the list would be Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Before he became president of the United States, Wilson, a Southerner, held that same position at Princeton where, as a historian he helped solidify the acceptance of the Lost Cause myth of the Confederacy. A leading political progressive, Wilson instituted stuff like the Sedition act of 1918 and racially segregating the U.S. civil service and armed forces.

If you’ve graduated from an American high school you undoubtedly were taught about how Democratic President Harry Truman famously desegregated the American military. What you weren’t taught was that segregation was not a holdover from the Civil War era but rather had been implemented by Wilson, another Democrat. How those affiliated with the Wilson School and Princeton can allow their reputations to be tainted by Wilson’s racism is beyond me.

Next on the list is Stanford University, named for railroad magnate Leland Stanford. Stanford ruthlessly exploited Chinese migrants who labored building his railroads, yet opposed their immigration to California, and is documented as saying ugly, racist things about those Asians. While we’re renaming Fort Bragg, why should Stanford continue to be named after a racist and capitalist exploiter of immigrants?

Finally, as monuments to Washington and Jefferson are now being reconsidered as those men owned slaves, should Yale University continue to honor the memory of Elihu Yale? Old Elihu didn’t just own slaves like Washingon and Jefferson, he was a slave trader. Yale didn’t start the school named after him, but he did provide it with vital financial support during its early years and was thus honored by it bearing his name.

The truth, however, is that the graduates of the Wilson School, Stanford, and Yale believe much more in the prestige and brand value of diplomas from those institutions than they believe that America is systematically racist. How many of the graduates and faculty members of those elite and elitist schools that are currently cheering on rioting and minimizing the threat from Antifa in the name of “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” are willing to give up that prestige? You think Hillary Clinton wants to say that she went to the Frederick Douglas Law School instead of Yale? You think Stanford graduates are willing to say they matriculated from Cum Sing University? Could the denizens of DC that went to the Wilson school at Princeton tolerate their alma mater’s renaming to the Sengbe Pieh School of Public and International Affairs?

41 Replies to “Guest Post: While We’re On a Renaming Kick, Let’s Get Rid of Wilson, Yale, and Stanford”

  1. Avatarsgeffe

    Yesterday I heard something on the radio stating that the USA has gone through the equivalent of a decade in six months’ time!

    I ain’t gonna argue that point! This country is being ripped apart!

    Reply
  2. AvatarCJinSD

    Radicals never mean for the judgements they place on white Christian men to be used to take their own measure. This movement has nothing to do with truth, merit, or endowment. It has everything to do with destruction in the hopes that those with limitless avariciousness will live like emperors in a world with a sparse population of slaves.

    Reply
    • Avatardanio

      This is becoming more apparent by the day. When no one else but the 25% of the victims killed by police are allowed to protest the matter on their own behalf, then it’s not really about solving that issue. Like Jack noted in his piece the other day about the Purity Spiral, even those groveling “allies” are basically being told that if they want to help they can kill themselves. And many are asking how they should do it to best help the cause.

      Reply
  3. Avatarrambo furum

    The notion that any but biggest history buffs know or care who anything was named after is rather hilarious, as I am a history buff and constantly am surprised to learn the history behind the naming of some nearby or well-known thing.

    Just this morning I was discussing the gag effort to rename Washington DC, because Geo. Washington held slaves until after his wife’s death and Columbia is essentially a Christopher Columbus reference. It dawned on me that Columbia University should go first, as the Ivy League should practice what they preach. It’s all fun and games for America haters to espouse this stuff as they have no skin in the game, but let the name on that expensive degree lose it’s history and name recognition and see how the same people will cry as that has value to them.

    Needless to say, the left does not have ideals or consistency. They are only about destruction and amassing power.

    Reply
    • AvatarJohn C.

      Columbia University was already a rename. It was built as part of a string of Colleges in the New World all named King’s College and paid for by the British Parliament. My daughter graduated from the only one I think of them to still use the name. Or close, it is now University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

      Reply
  4. AvatarJohn C.

    Interesting this idea of renaming. Conservatives by their very nature are against it and fake conservatives are really for it but show irony by adding a new list on different criteria, thereby implicitly approving the original blasphemy. So much easier than building new things that can be named for those that achieved them. Who wants to wait for that?

    Reply
    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber Post author

      You must think Jonathan Swift actually advocated eating Irish babies.

      Perhaps it’s my failure to not make it clear enough but my point was the hypocrisy of the renamers and removers, that’s why I was using their own criteria, not a different one.

      Specifically about Confederate monuments and the ‘stars and bars’, as they say, it’s complicated. I’m not happy with symbols glorifying those who fought against the United States. That being said, the Union had to be magnanimous in victory if there was going to be a United States of America. Was abandoning Reconstruction and tolerating the Lost Cause myth a bargain with the Devil? Perhaps, but Southern boys drove Sherman tanks in WWII.

      I make a distinction between 19th century monuments, erected soon after the Civil War, which are actual memorials to veterans and war dead, and those Confederate monuments and statues that went up in the early 20th century when the Klan was revived as an organized political movement (Nathan Bedford Forrest’s KKK had lost since gone away – speaking of which, as it turned out later in life Forrest renounced the Klan and racism). I think it’s hard to argue that the Confederate monuments put up in the 20th century were not meant as symbols of white power and merely a recognition of history and heritage.

      Reply
      • AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

        I expect any minute for renewed calls to remove the carving at Stone Mountain Ga. And probably the removal of the museum, the period village and it being renamed BLM park.

        Reply
        • AvatarJohn C.

          In 1987 I hosted a few of my German and English cousins at Stone Mountain for the laser light show during a family wedding. They were giggly but shocked that this could still happen. I suppose we should be grateful for the intervening 33 years.

          Reply
      • AvatarRJ

        There were few Confederate monuments erected in the South soon after the Civil War, because most southern states were occupied by federal soldiers.

        Most of the monuments went up around the turn of the 20th century as the confederate vets grew old and passed away. This is similar to the World War 2 memorials going up over the last 20 years, as well as the World War 2 museum , which opened in New Orleans.

        I’m not sure that the people who fight in the wars are the people who put up the monuments.

        I come from a military family, but the only relative I knew who talked about his combat service was an uncle who had fought in Korea. Uncle Bobby opened up to me about his time there, when he was dying of cancer. I hope it helped him.

        Reply
        • AvatarJohn C.

          Remember the rare contribution of females to a discussion like this of the Daughters of the Confederacy. Is it the only time such a thing as happened?

          Reply
          • AvatarJohn C.

            Yes this man with the funny name didn’t want Southerners to forget and indeed local chapters of the Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned and maintained in town after town monuments that carpet baggers thought bizarre. Yet you claim you are pulling a Jonathon Swift. Could it just be that native Southerners going out of their way to remember while also never rising again is another big part of the monuments. No its got to go, with a lot of other stuff. None of this is Ronnie’s heritage. His heritage is going from place to place without any connection to anywhere. What happens when natives become the minority.

            It must be terrible when your heritage consists of we were there but they hated us and we had to go in place after place time after time. It shouldn’t mean that your inability to relate has to rule the day as atonement.

          • AvatarRonnie Schreiber Post author

            None of this is Ronnie’s heritage. His heritage is going from place to place without any connection to anywhere.

            Interesting how someone who identifies as ultra-American would echo the Soviets’ “rootless cosmopolitan” characterization of Jews.

            My heritage is worshipping the God of Abraham. That being said, Jew hatred is an unfortunate existential reality of being Jewish. Why? God knows, I don’t and it’s not something I dwell on minute by minute. Being Jewish is a joyful thing, something my kids and grandkids will tell you.

            I’m an eighth generation American. My father’s family has been in the United States since before the Civil War. My paternal grandfather served overseas in the U.S. Army during WWI and my dad was in the Corps of Engineers during WWII.
            .
            If you had bothered watching that lecture, you might have learned how Jubal Early rewrote history to pursue both ideological (the Lost Cause myth) and personal agendas (he didn’t like Longstreet – note how there aren’t many monuments to Longstreet).

      • AvatarNewbie Jeff

        “I make a distinction between 19th century monuments, erected soon after the Civil War, which are actual memorials to veterans and war dead, and those Confederate monuments and statues that went up in the early 20th century when the Klan was revived as an organized political movement… I think it’s hard to argue that the Confederate monuments put up in the 20th century were not meant as symbols of white power and merely a recognition of history and heritage”

        Why is anyone trying to argue this in the first place? History is complicated, monuments and memorials are part of it, regardless of the motivations that put them there. I’m an avid American Civil War buff, I love touring battlefields. Confederate memorials are part of the experience… and part of understanding. The American Civil War is dramatic, tragic American military history – on both sides. Lee, Grant, Longstreet, Sherman are all fascinating figures and erasing some of them from history “because racism” is not only intellectually reductionist but completely illogical. Oh, and not to mention, impractical: I grew up in Greensboro, NC, named after Nathaniel Greene of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse… guess what (who) General Greene owned?

        I knew all of this was coming as soon as the “debate” emerged about the Confederate flag in Columbia, SC… I knew the purging of monuments and artifacts to satisfy the ideological hunger of activists would never, ever stop. Next, it was Silent Sam at Chapel Hill and Lee at Charlottesville… now it’s Ft Bragg, Ft Benning, and Ft Hood. This will never stop. If we try to hide Confederate history in museums, then the leftist mobs will just burn the museums down.

        I get the point of the article mocking the ridiculousness of it all… it’s gratifying and therapeutic. But let’s not forget that this is really happening… this is Orwell’s “memory hole” come to life, among the many other Orwellian themes currently corrupting American society.

        Reply
        • Avatarstingray65

          Good comment – history certainly is complicated. For example: who is the slave owning Union general buried in Grant’s tomb? Answer: U. S. Grant who like his adversary Lee received slaves through marriage or inheritance rather than active purchase. Of course the BLM “protesters” are probably not aware of that yet, but it is only a matter of time before every historical “hero” is outed as a slave owner, or someone who had fairly low opinions of blacks (Abe Lincoln), or someone who thought only men had the temperament for voting and leadership positions (virtually every male and many females until 50 years ago), or someone who thought homosexuals and transgenders are mentally ill (virtually every person until about 10 years ago), so it is only a matter of time before no one is qualified to be a hero or role model if we judge everyone by current standards.

          Reply
          • AvatarScottS

            “Of course the BLM “protesters” are probably not aware of that yet, ”

            The BLM protesters are merely tools of elite progressives waging a cultural Marxist war on the United States. Racism is currently the most effective weapon in advancing the “repressive tolerance” strategy to demonize and silence the majority. Herbert Marcuse articulated this in 1968. We are living it today.

  5. AvatarJeff Zekas

    Here in Oregon, some leftists tore down Thomas Jefferson’s statue at Jefferson High, cos, ya know, slavery, thus ignoring the genius of a man who wrote the constitution.

    Reply
    • AvatarJohn C.

      Next school year TJ high will be named for Malcolm X, who of course contributed so much to education in Portland. Then people like Ronnie will point out correctly that Mr,.X really didn’t do much for Portland and it would be better to pick from Golda Mier or the local jeweler to name a school. Choices, choices?

      Reply
      • AvatarRonnie Schreiber Post author

        Golda Meir already has a school named after her. It’s in Milwaukee, where she lived as a girl and young adult. She taught school there and worked in the public library.

        I’m not a supporter of renaming things named after the Founding Fathers. However, if a school district wants to name a school after a local jeweler, I suppose it wouldn’t be any worse than my brother and sister’s elementary school in Detroit, James Vernor Elementary, named after the founder of Vernor’s Ginger Ale.

        Reply
        • AvatarJohn C.

          I hope the school in Milwaukee gets to keep her name. It is notable that she passed through on her way to places more important to her. The leadership of Antifa will have to explain carefully to their rent a mob that whatever her crimes against Transjordanians should not be their concern.

          Reply
  6. Avatarbenjohnson

    How about we ask the Democrats to change the name of their political party – after all they defended slavery.

    Bonus for getting rid of FDR on the dime as he put a race of people in internment camps.

    Reply
    • AvatarCJinSD

      If there was any truth to this movement, the first name changed would be that of the Democratic party; the party of slavery, the party of the KKK, the party of Jim Crow, the party that fought against civil rights, the party of genocidal white supremacist Margaret Sanger and overt racists like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. There has never been a pivot, but at least they could change their name to Demonic, or Stalinist.

      Reply
  7. Avatarstingray65

    I’ve read that an early benefactor of Yale University was a man named Jeremiah Dummer, who apparently in untainted by slavery. Given recent events and the current climate at Yale, I can’t think of a better new name for the school than Dummer University, and I hope all the alumni, administration, faculty, and students can get behind this new name so that the healing can begin.

    Reply
  8. Avatarstingray65

    Nice essay Ronnie. It is interesting that nearly 60 years after the signing of the Civil Rights Acts that have banned discrimination of all types (including against trannies and homosexuals according to the recent Supreme Court decision), and 50+ years of affirmative action and racial quotas, that further racial progress should now hinge on violently removing statues and monuments that have been quietly sitting in public spaces for 100+years commemorating people who have been dead for 150+ years.

    Instead of being concerned about some long dead white guys who owned slaves prior to 1865 when owning slaves was a legal right, why aren’t BLM and other racial activists focusing on where slavery is still being practiced today? According to several sites I looked at there are many countries that still legally allow slavery, or turn a blind eye towards enforcing anti-slavery laws including: China, India, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Indonesia, North Korea, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Egypt, and Myanmar. It’s a real mystery why there is so much concern about ancient history when millions of people are being held as slaves today in much of the world – can anyone possibly explain this?

    Reply
      • Avatarstingray65

        You mean its not about justice, and only about money? On the other hand, China has a lot of money and Iraq has a lot of oil – maybe BLM can try to get some money from them while also freeing some slaves.

        Reply
      • AvatarDan

        It’s not just self interest. The vice deans for diversity and inclusion are going to keep doing what’s made them a living so far. The trust funded will continue to flaunt it. (Good article: https://quillette.com/2019/11/16/thorstein-veblens-theory-of-the-leisure-class-a-status-update/)

        And the other 95% of this movement, the white and woke and treading water with a useless degree, not only will never get a dime of reparations but are literally asking to be disqualified from personal and professional life for being the wrong color.

        Mind boggling.

        Reply
  9. Avatar98horn

    My father used to say, in regard to our family history, not to look too far into it lest I discover a horse thief or a catholic priest. The lesson applies to history writ large.

    Reply
  10. Avatarmantis2073

    The mascot of the college I attended was “Crusaders” for almost a hundred years. Bowing down to all things Allah like every other institution, they transitioned to an inoffensive and non-existing avian creature akin to the Seattle “Seahawks”. Whenever I hear the school mentioned now, all I can think of is “Screaming Yellow Chickens”. And this is a so-called “Christian” college. I regret having spent a single day there.

    Reply
    • Avatarstingray65

      I expect most Muslim foes of the actual Crusaders probably had a great deal of respect for infidel opponent’s sacrifice, initiative, and skills in battle fighting back against the barbarian (aka Muslim) hoards. In fact, it is skills, intelligence, sacrifice, and persistence in battle that led many schools to name their sports teams after Indians and Confederate Rebels. Nobody names their teams after something that is stupid, slow, lazy, or otherwise not respected and admired, which is why the whole “rename” the Fighting Sioux, Redskins, Indians, Rebels, Crusaders, etc. is absolutely crazy. Especially when polls show vast majorities of actual native Americans, southerners, and fans of all colors of the teams believe that nothing but honor, respect, and admiration for positive qualities associated with the names. In fact,the only people who tend to object are white Lefties who usually don’t even like sports, which is why they can believe a name like the Cleveland Indians insults native Americans in the same way naming a team the “N” word would insult blacks. Did your school ever ask any Muslims about the Crusader name before they made the change?

      Reply
  11. Avatarmantis2073

    I was not privy to the process leading up to the name change. My thinking has been that as the other schools represented by the Crusader mascot gave in to pressure from Muslim interest groups before them, my alma mater decided the path of least resistance was to cave in order to make it all go away.

    Reply
  12. AvatarDan

    If I never let up in attacking my wife for the small things that she did wrong years ago she’d up and leave.

    What does divorce look like on a national scale?

    Reply
  13. Avatarhank chinaski

    “DR3” aka Dems R the Real Racists.
    The hypocrisy is a feature, not a bug, and fully intended to allow the establishment conservatives to pointlessly preoccupy themselves with it.

    To further meme-ify the point, memes being the current Swiftian modality:
    Joke: the rioters are destroying icons purely for the sake of destruction
    Woke: they are destroying icons because they hate you and want to erase your past and demoralize you, being helpless to stop them.
    Bespoke: your elected officials (both sides) and law enforcement tacitly approve and are helping them, through action or inaction.

    Honk!

    Reply
  14. AvatarHighestlaw

    Does that mean that New York City will have to change its name? Named after the Duke of York (later James II), the Duke ran the Royal African Company that had a monopoly on British trade with West Africa. Google Duke of York and Royal African Company, much information to be learned, will it be enough to rename NYC?

    Reply
  15. AvatarJohn C.

    Congratulations Ronnie! Wilson is being erased for the crime of being white, Christian, and Southern. It will be such a GIANT part of your legacy from this life to be part of this mob of history erasers. I know, I know, it’s not your history…

    Maybe Trump will even tweet a please identify picture of you writing this article with the other history erasers. Maybe you should send him a picture of yourself with your trick harmonica and a Jonathon Swift tee shirt. Maybe Raz Simone will then sample it on his next itune. That is a lot of maybes but you can make it happen.

    Reply

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