A Guide to “Offensive” Statues

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A Guide to "Offensive" Statues

Get your ham­mers and chis­els out! Ready the bull­doz­ers! Tear down the stat­ues and remove the names of pres­i­dents who are con­sid­ered “racists”!

Writ­ing in The Huff­in­g­ton Post last year, Ibram Kendi, a pro­fes­sor at Amer­i­can Uni­ver­sity, pro­vided the names of the most racist U.S. pres­i­dents. Kendi won the 2016 National Book Award for his analy­sis of racism in which he saw Angela Davis and the Black Pan­thers as the good guys.

I just want to make cer­tain every­one knows just how crazy it could become. Here’s the list from No. 11 through No. 1:

No. 11. George W. Bush

Kendi’s ratio­nale: No Child Left Behind Act and Katrina

No. 10. Calvin Coolidge

Kendi’s ratio­nale: The Immi­gra­tion Act of 1924 ratio­nal­ized dis­crim­i­na­tion against Asians and restricted immi­gra­tion from south­ern and east­ern Europe, severely restricted African immi­grants and banned the immi­gra­tions of Arabs and Asians. “Amer­ica must be kept Amer­i­can,” Pres­i­dent Coolidge said dur­ing his first annual mes­sage to Con­gress in 1923.

No. 9. Dwight Eisenhower

Kendi’s ratio­nale: Pres­i­dent Eisen­hower did not endorse Brown v. Board of Edu­ca­tion and dragged his feet to enforce it. He “did not wage war against seg­re­ga­tion. And he remains as much to blame as any­one for its per­sis­tence, for the lives lost fight­ing against it.”

No. 8. James Polk

Kendi’s ratio­nale: Pres­i­dent Polk waged the Mex­i­can Amer­i­can War (18461848). “War pro­pa­gan­dists framed the U.S. as bring­ing free­dom and civ­i­liza­tion to the back­ward Mex­i­cans. From the war spoils, the U.S. seized from Mex­ico nearly all of what is now the Amer­i­can South­west — a gar­gan­tuan land seizure that mir­rored the ongo­ing vio­lent seizures of Native Amer­i­can land and the ongo­ing vio­lent seizures of Black labor.”

No. 7. Woodrow Wilson

Kendi’s ratio­nale: “Pro­fes­sor Wil­son and then Pres­i­dent Wil­son unapolo­get­i­cally backed what he called the ‘great Ku Klux Klan,’ and cham­pi­oned the Klan’s vio­lent dis­en­fran­chise­ment of south­ern African Amer­i­cans in the late 19th cen­tury. Pres­i­dent Wil­son began the bru­tal two-​decade U.S. occu­pa­tion of Haiti in 1915, pre­vent­ing Haitians from self-​governing. And pos­si­bly most egre­giously, at the Ver­sailles Con­ven­tion set­tling World War I in 1919, Pres­i­dent Wil­son effec­tively killed Japan’s pro­posal for a treaty rec­og­niz­ing racial equal­ity, thus sus­tain­ing the life of Euro­pean colonialism.”

No. 6. Franklin Roosevelt

Kendi’s ratio­nale: “Pres­i­dent Roosevelt’s exec­u­tive order in 1942 that ended up round­ing up and forc­ing more than 100,000 Japan­ese Amer­i­cans into pris­ons dur­ing World War II is arguably the most racist exec­u­tive order in Amer­i­can history.”

No. 5. Thomas Jefferson

Kendi’s ratio­nale: He owned slaves. [Note: Kendi doesn’t men­tion his affair with a slave.]

No. 4. James Monroe

Kendi’s ratio­nale: The Mon­roe Doc­trine, which was aimed at pro­tect­ing U.S. inter­ests in Latin and South Amer­ica, was used “as a ratio­nal­iz­ing cord for U.S. inter­ven­tion into sov­er­eign Latin Amer­i­can states, includ­ing the top­pling of gov­ern­ments unfriendly to U.S. inter­ests. This Mon­roe Doc­trine was as racist and dev­as­tat­ing to Latin Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties abroad as the doc­trine of Man­i­fest Des­tiny was to indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties at home.”

No. 3. Ronald Reagan

Kendi’s ratio­nale: “Pres­i­dent Rea­gan attracted vot­ers through racially coded appeals that allowed them to avoid admit­ting they were attracted by the racist appeals.

Pres­i­dent Rea­gan took Pres­i­dent Nixon’s racist drug war to a new level, and the mass incar­cer­a­tion of Black and Brown bod­ies accel­er­ated…. Rea­gan stands on this list as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of all these mass incar­cer­at­ing pres­i­dents in the late 20th century.”

No. 2. Andrew Jackson

Kendi’s ratio­nale: Pres­i­dent “Jack­son stepped into the U.S. pres­i­dency as a wealthy Ten­nessee enslaver and mil­i­tary gen­eral who had founded and spear­headed the Demo­c­ra­tic Party. Jack­son­ian Democ­rats, as his­to­ri­ans call them, amassed a win­ning coali­tion of south­ern enslavers, White work­ing peo­ple, and recent Euro­pean immi­grants who reg­u­larly rioted against abo­li­tion­ists, indige­nous and Black com­mu­ni­ties, and civil rights activists before and after the Civil War.”

No. 1. Andrew Johnson

Kendi’s ratio­nale: “Pres­i­dent John­son offered amnesty, prop­erty rights, and vot­ing rights to all but the high­est Con­fed­er­ate offi­cials (most of whom he par­doned a year later). He later ordered the return of land to par­doned Con­fed­er­ates, null and voided those wartime orders that granted Blacks forty acres and a mule, and removed many of the Black troops from the South.

Feel­ing empow­ered by Pres­i­dent John­son, Con­fed­er­ates insti­tuted a series of dis­crim­i­na­tory Black codes at the con­sti­tu­tional con­ven­tions that refor­mu­lated south­ern states in the sum­mer and fall of 1865. The imme­di­ate post­war South became the spit­ting image of the pre­war South in every­thing but name — as the law replaced the mas­ter. These racist poli­cies caused a post­war war since an untold num­ber of Black peo­ple lost their lives resist­ing them.”

Here in Philadel­phia, the city is debat­ing whether to remove the statue of for­mer Mayor Frank Rizzo, who was the city’s top cop in the 1960s and went on to become mayor. Some­how lost in the debate is how poorly the city has done under African-​American lead­er­ship, includ­ing the bomb­ing of fel­low African-​Americans in 1985.

But there’s more. The Asso­ci­ated Press reports that there are other non-​Confederate mon­u­ments that might be top­pled. https://​apnews​.com/​c​8875​d​316​f​5​f​4​c​4​b​a​b​4​d​48812​c​b​7​d​253​/​I​n​-​d​i​s​p​u​t​e​-​o​v​e​r​-​s​t​a​t​u​e​s​,​-​w​h​e​r​e​-​d​o​-​y​o​u​-​d​r​a​w​-​t​h​e​-line

Christo­pher Colum­bus is a favorite tar­get. But so is Peter Faneuil, whose name graces the colo­nial meet­ing place in Boston nick­named the “Cra­dle of Lib­erty,” because he had ties to the slave trade.

Sim­ply put, it’s clear that we need to get rid of the stat­ues of all dead white guys who oppressed the lives of so many Amer­i­cans! We could build memo­ri­als ded­i­cated to Huey New­ton, Bobby Seale, Eli­jah Muham­mad, Mal­colm X, and many oth­ers to replace the sym­bols of injustice.

It might be funny except more and more peo­ple actu­ally think some of these are good ideas.

Get your hammers and chisels out! Ready the bulldozers! Tear down the statues and remove the names of presidents who are considered “racists”!

Writing in The Huffington Post last year, Ibram Kendi, a professor at American University, provided the names of the most racist U.S. presidents. Kendi won the 2016 National Book Award for his analysis of racism in which he saw Angela Davis and the Black Panthers as the good guys.

I just want to make certain everyone knows just how crazy it could become. Here’s the list from No. 11 through No. 1:

No. 11. George W. Bush

Kendi’s rationale: No Child Left Behind Act and Katrina

No. 10. Calvin Coolidge

Kendi’s rationale: The Immigration Act of 1924 rationalized discrimination against Asians and restricted immigration from southern and eastern Europe, severely restricted African immigrants and banned the immigrations of Arabs and Asians. “America must be kept American,” President Coolidge said during his first annual message to Congress in 1923.

No. 9. Dwight Eisenhower

Kendi’s rationale: President Eisenhower did not endorse Brown v. Board of Education and dragged his feet to enforce it. He “did not wage war against segregation. And he remains as much to blame as anyone for its persistence, for the lives lost fighting against it.”

No. 8. James Polk

Kendi’s rationale: President Polk waged the Mexican American War (1846-1848). “War propagandists framed the U.S. as bringing freedom and civilization to the backward Mexicans. From the war spoils, the U.S. seized from Mexico nearly all of what is now the American Southwest—a gargantuan land seizure that mirrored the ongoing violent seizures of Native American land and the ongoing violent seizures of Black labor.”

No. 7. Woodrow Wilson

Kendi’s rationale:  “Professor Wilson and then President Wilson unapologetically backed what he called the ‘great Ku Klux Klan,’ and championed the Klan’s violent disenfranchisement of southern African Americans in the late 19th century. President Wilson began the brutal two-decade U.S. occupation of Haiti in 1915, preventing Haitians from self-governing. And possibly most egregiously, at the Versailles Convention settling World War I in 1919, President Wilson effectively killed Japan’s proposal for a treaty recognizing racial equality, thus sustaining the life of European colonialism.”

No. 6. Franklin Roosevelt

Kendi’s rationale: “President Roosevelt’s executive order in 1942 that ended up rounding up and forcing more than 100,000 Japanese Americans into prisons during World War II is arguably the most racist executive order in American history.”

No. 5. Thomas Jefferson

Kendi’s rationale: He owned slaves. [Note: Kendi doesn’t mention his affair with a slave.]

No. 4. James Monroe

Kendi’s rationale: The Monroe Doctrine, which was aimed at protecting U.S. interests in Latin and South America, was used “as a rationalizing cord for U.S. intervention into sovereign Latin American states, including the toppling of governments unfriendly to U.S. interests. This Monroe Doctrine was as racist and devastating to Latin American communities abroad as the doctrine of Manifest Destiny was to indigenous communities at home.”

No. 3. Ronald Reagan

Kendi’s rationale: “President Reagan attracted voters through racially coded appeals that allowed them to avoid admitting they were attracted by the racist appeals.

“President Reagan took President Nixon’s racist drug war to a new level, and the mass incarceration of Black and Brown bodies accelerated…. Reagan stands on this list as the representative of all these mass incarcerating presidents in the late 20th century.”

No. 2. Andrew Jackson

Kendi’s rationale: President “Jackson stepped into the U.S. presidency as a wealthy Tennessee enslaver and military general who had founded and spearheaded the Democratic Party. Jacksonian Democrats, as historians call them, amassed a winning coalition of southern enslavers, White working people, and recent European immigrants who regularly rioted against abolitionists, indigenous and Black communities, and civil rights activists before and after the Civil War.”

No. 1. Andrew Johnson

Kendi’s rationale: “President Johnson offered amnesty, property rights, and voting rights to all but the highest Confederate officials (most of whom he pardoned a year later). He later ordered the return of land to pardoned Confederates, null and voided those wartime orders that granted Blacks forty acres and a mule, and removed many of the Black troops from the South.

“Feeling empowered by President Johnson, Confederates instituted a series of discriminatory Black codes at the constitutional conventions that reformulated southern states in the summer and fall of 1865. The immediate postwar South became the spitting image of the prewar South in everything but name—as the law replaced the master. These racist policies caused a postwar war since an untold number of Black people lost their lives resisting them.”

Here in Philadelphia, the city is debating whether to remove the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo, who was the city’s top cop in the 1960s and went on to become mayor. Somehow lost in the debate is how poorly the city has done under African-American leadership, including the bombing of fellow African-Americans in 1985.

But there’s more. The Associated Press reports that there are other non-Confederate monuments that might be toppled. https://apnews.com/c8875d316f5f4c4bab4d48812cb7d253/In-dispute-over-statues,-where-do-you-draw-the-line

Christopher Columbus is a favorite target. But so is Peter Faneuil, whose name graces the colonial meeting place in Boston nicknamed the “Cradle of Liberty,” because he had ties to the slave trade.

Simply put, it’s clear that we need to get rid of the statues of all dead white guys who oppressed the lives of so many Americans! We could build memorials dedicated to Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and many others to replace the symbols of injustice.

It might be funny except more and more people actually think some of these are good ideas.