For instance, is there a significant difference between taking down the Confederate flag from government buildings, a symbol of state oppression for many African-Americans, and expunging all references to Woodrow Wilson or Andrew Jackson because they held racist beliefs? Should universities black out individuals who, while accomplishing much good, may have contributed to a racist environment while they were alive? Stephen Carter thinks not. The Yale law professor takes issue with students who are making such demands. He believes we can “honor the past without honoring the racism”. He writes:
“All over the country, local party groups are busily renaming the traditional fundraiser, on the ground that one of its eponyms was a slaveholder and believer in black inferiority, and the other, who also held slaves, has the blood of thousands of American Indians on his hands. I have no brief for either Thomas Jefferson or Andrew Jackson (although I do retain a certain old-fashioned affection for that Declaration thing), but I’m worried that the relabeling business is getting out of hand. It’s one thing to pressure the Southern states to stop displaying the Confederate battle flag in ways that honor the horribly destructive war to preserve slavery. It’s something else to seek to write all the racist baddies out of the nation’s history…”
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