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Desc:students shouldn't have to learn in buildings named after someone who would object to their presence
Category:News & Politics, Educational
Tags:Princeton, Woodrow Wilson, Black Justice League, Black Superfriends, Black Power Pack
Submitted:Bort
Date:11/24/15
Views:1143
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Comment count is 27
Bort - 2015-11-24
My opinion is per the description -- which is not to say Wilson doesn't deserve his name slapped on some structure or other, but classrooms and the like probably aren't appropriate.

Wilson wasn't some ordinary man of his times who happened to have historically unfortunate opinions; dude was the sort of racist that made people of his time uncomfortable. Among his greatest feats, he segregated parts of the federal government that had been happily chugging along in desegregated fashion, and he instituted a policy that applicants for federal positions had to also submit a photo for some unknowable reason or other.

There are things Wilson deserves credit for, most importantly pushing the League of Nations, plus his positive efforts at reining in the excesses of business. So yay for Wilson on those topics, and I wouldn't object to, say, a Foreign Affairs wing of the library being named after him. But he was the sort of asshole who did his best to kick a people when they were already down, and I have no problem saying fuck that bullshit.
Bort - 2015-11-24
One thing Wilson didn't do, though, was endorse "The Birth of a Nation"; his famous endorsement seems to have first appeared in 1930 or so, years after his death.

That said, Wilson did have a private screening of "The Birth of a Nation" at the White House, and I'm guessing he spent the following two weeks with a boner that just wouldn't quit.

baleen - 2015-11-24
Yeah, he represented the unfortunate direction half of the progressive movement took and the shaky hodgepodge of regional demographics that would end up being the New Deal coalition.

If Southerners have to take down Confederate flags I have no objection to taking down images of KKK members. As you say, there's a lot of heroes from this time that did not reflect these values, some of them may have even attended Princeton. Put those pictures up.

dairyqueenlatifah - 2015-11-24
I wonder if a few decades from now when the tide has turned back into the far right direction we'll see youtube videos from students demanding that liberal/progressive icons names be removed from buildings.

Pretty much everyone who was important enough to have university halls named after them would object to modern "progressive" students being there.
Bort - 2015-11-24
The only reason Woodrow Wilson wasn't a leader of the Confederate States of America was because he was born too late. The same fundamental objections apply to him as, say, Preston Brooks.

SolRo - 2015-11-25
You conservatives really are the kinds of assholes that would pretend to be offended by someone that fought for their rights just to stick it to "those damn LIEbruls"

That guy - 2015-11-25
dairyqueen, what are you trying to say?
"pretty much everyone" isn't a defense of Wilson, or of who not to name university buildings after.

theSnake - 2015-11-24
History is offending my fee fees, lets erase it
ashtar. - 2015-11-24
Congratulations on using the exact same argument as the "the battle flag of the Confederacy should flown be over the South Carolina state house" people use.

ashtar. - 2015-11-24
stars are for the tags

Bort - 2015-11-25
theSnake thinks that you learn history by naming buildings after people. If a new important person appears, we have to build a building and name it after them OR THEY WILL BE FORGOTTEN FOREVER.

That guy - 2015-11-25
Snake, that's a dumb strawman of what' really going on here.

baleen - 2015-11-25
I don't see what the big deal is.

Buildings are renamed all the time.
As Americans we aren't used to it because overall we've been fairly complacent about the atrocities in our history. It's the communists and Nazis who did all the bad things, and those countries have had their fair share of building renamings and state rebrandings, and anyone who complains is just bringing up old skeletons to fill their unimportant lives with meaning.

Renaming is a normal part of a culture deciding what values it deems most important. I wouldn't want to be a black person going into a building every day named after a man who reversed decades of racial progress in the government by forcing segregation and firing blacks. It would make me feel pretty awful.

theSnake - 2015-11-25
"Culture" isn't "deciding what values it deems most important" and renaming things, a small shrieking minority is.

Bort - 2015-11-25
A "small shrieking minority" that has won me, and others, over to their position, on the grounds that they have a legitimate point.

Since Wilson was both president of Princeton and President of the United States, I understand that the administration is going to feel absolutely obligated to name something or other after him. Just make it a thing that won't be a slap in the face to a significant chunk of their student body.

infinite zest - 2015-11-25
Yeah not to mention that this sets precedent for the myriad K-12 schools named after him ..

infinite zest - 2015-11-25
Not to mention Jackson, Jefferson, Washington, Madison..

boner - 2015-11-25
History is preserved, as long as the Wikipedia article about this building says "Here's what this place was named and why we changed it".

Sanest Man Alive - 2015-12-01
When I drive through Texas I will invariably end up on a turnpike and parkway named for George W Bush, Ronald Reagan or some other modern war criminal.

I feel sad at the fact it will take generations for the people to realize what fucking horrible facsimiles of human beings they were and rename their roads something nicer, if that happens at all.

That guy - 2015-11-25
I don't know much about Wilson, but what Bort said sounds about right, and I think that his racism is highly relevant to his illustrated career, so I think it'd be fitting to take his name off a hall or other honors.

I think it'd be a different story for, say, a high-achieving chemist who said something shitty once. There might be a point where you honor someone for their achievements, and not for being a perfect person, that would also be fitting.
ashtar. - 2015-11-27
You're going to disrupt our fragile ecology if you keep going outside your niche, That Guy.

That guy - 2015-11-28
Point taken.

I want to rebut that, but I wouldn't want to mess with your view of me... as... reactionary... it seems.

ashtar. - 2015-11-29
Not so much that you have a particular political ideology as that your role is usually to generate and exacerbate conflict. Not that I mind, mind you; the fact that we yell at each other is what keeps this place alive.

That guy - 2015-11-29
well, yeah, I do that

and when I get out of my zone, I say 'illustrated' when I should say 'illustrious'

gmol - 2015-11-25
Cecil Rhodes is still alright though...
Bort - 2015-11-26
Interesting point. I'm not sure I'm the one to take the point on the movement, but I bet I'd support it.

gmol - 2015-11-26
You'd think the whole lion thing would've gotten things started.

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