The government body in charge of the San Francisco public schools recently came up with a list of 44 schools that they have deemed to be in need of renaming. The offending namesakes include Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Muir, Junipero Serra, and Dianne Feinstein.
“Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties or wealth building,” said Jeremiah Jefferies, the chairman of the San Francisco Unified School District School Names Advisory Committee.
As for Feinstein, she was blacklisted for ordering a Confederate flag that had been vandalized to be replaced back in 1986 when she was mayor of San Francisco. According to Jefferies, she “chose to fly a flag that is the iconography of domestic terrorism, racism, white avarice, and inhumanity towards black and indigenous people at the city hall. She is one of the few living examples on our list, so she still has time to dedicate the rest of her life to the upliftment of black, First Nations, and other people of color. She hasn’t thus far, so her apology simply wasn’t convincing.” In addition to the fact that the Confederate flag is the iconography of none of these things, and the fact that the term “white avarice” is racist, this is a pretty ridiculous reason to condemn someone.
The committee used the below criteria for determining which historical figures are unworthy of having schools named after them:
- Anyone directly involved in the colonization of people
- Slave owners or participants in enslavement
- Perpetuators of genocide or slavery
- Those who exploit workers/people
- Those who directly oppressed or abused women, children, queer, or transgender people (apparently oppressing and abusing men is perfectly fine…)
- Those connected to any human rights or environmental abuses
- Those who are known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs
In terms of eliminating wide swaths of historical figures, these ridiculously stringent criteria go further than perhaps anything I’ve seen yet. It’s difficult, in fact, to think of anyone who would meet them. But in a strange way, this is actually kind of a good thing. With historical figures who fought for the Confederacy having been brutally and relentlessly attacked, condemned, slandered, and smashed to pieces over the past months, it’s only fair that Lincoln be “canceled” as well. If you’re going to depose historical figures from their places of honor, you should at least be consistent about it.
As Jarrett Stepman of the Daily Signal wrote, “If the criteria were really taken to its logical conclusions, then it would lead to erasing pretty much every leader and people in all human history… It’s interesting that Jefferies says the agenda is about uplifting ‘black, First Nations, and people of color,’ but are not all these groups, through the lens of history, also guilty of virtually every transgression on the committee’s list of criteria?”
Stepman also pointed out the authoritarian nature of the political correctness movement. “Do what we say, or you will be smashed and erased,” he accurately characterizes this movement’s thought process. “Symbols of opposition will be torn down. You must accept our truth, or else… If anything, it teaches students to be ruthlessly intolerant, to be utterly incapable of understanding different perspectives and the limitations of human nature.”