February 23, 2019
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
“For Fear of Being Labeled a Racist”:
The University of North Carolina Confederate Monument Case and the Wake Forest Battle Flag Episode
In our society each time a vocally radical Leftist group or the media cry “racism” and demand that our public figures “jump,” those leaders respond, usually meekly and apologetically, hat-in-hand: “How high?”
Confronted by such accusations almost always they run for the tall grass (to quote Patrick Buchanan) hoping that endless self-effacing apologies and some form of reparation will lessen the indelible stain, that nearly unforgivable sin which screams to the heavens. No matter if that infraction was “committed” decades ago, maybe an innocent student prank, or simply being photographed holding a Confederate Battle Flag, for instance—since our society has “progressed” forward, we now know that such actions are symbols of deep-seated white supremacy and bigotry that must be extirpated and punished severely.
In America the charge of racism has become a magical talisman which, once made, is a virtual death knell for almost any public official or social figure, perhaps only exceeded in effect by the accusation of anti-semitism.
It makes little difference whether the charge is true or not. Once stated and picked up by an eager-to-oblige media, it could end a career, it could forever discredit a person, and it may effectively end any platform he might have to express his views to a large audience. In effect, he would become a virtual “non-person,” a lone voice speaking to small groups of other “non-persons,” and prevented from reaching any wider audience.
This is especially true of Republicans and the dominant conservative movement. In too many cases, it is the fearful conservative establishment that participates in this process: any faint or farfetched hint of “racism,” present or past, real or imagined, any deviance from the new Progressivist dogmatism that saturates our society, brings not just attacks from the Left, but obloquy and quarantine from our frightened conservative elites.
To protect their right flanks and for fear of being labeled “racist,” those elites erect speech barriers and will not in any way permit or enable non-conforming and Old Right conservatives to appear on their networks or in their journals. The examples abound: National Review, The Daily Caller, Frontpage Mag, Fox News (with the notable exception of Tucker Carlson)…the list is endless.
To invite the real Rightwing opposition into their forums would be an admission that these outlets are not, in fact, genuine, that they usually jump when the Left demands it, that they prefer their cocktail parties with their Inside-the-DC-Beltway Leftwing friends or Manhattan boardroom confidants…and it would only increase the innate fear they have of being labeled “racist” (or “sexist” or “homophobic,” as the case may be), as well.
Of course, they will be labeled “racist” no matter what they do or say. And more’s the pity and utter insanity of it, for in their praxis, in their obeisance to the Leftist template and their implicit acceptance of its standards for participation and debate, they facilitate the continued success of this tactic and eventual destruction of what remains of the old republic.
If they would stand up to the attacks, if they would reject the narrative and the ongoing template, if they would refuse its definitions and its accusations forcefully and intelligently, then the field of battle might be different, might be altered a bit. But that would require courage and a truthful examination of American history and culture, and in too many cases, a rejection of dearly held—and false—principles about equality and the American Founding that several decades ago invaded both the older conservative movement—Neoconservatism—and now dominate the Republican Party.
Consider what is going on currently in North Carolina. Two examples.
First: The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors has before it a decision to make concerning a monument erected a century ago to students who volunteered to fight for the Confederacy in the War Between the States. Last August 20 a mob of radical Marxist students, faculty, and others (including votaries of the Hillsborough Progressives Taking Action, ANTIFA NC, Black Lives Matter, etc.), tore down the monument on the Chapel Hill campus while university police were ordered by the school’s administration to “stand down.”
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees then proposed moving the monument to a museum (not yet built) on campus. This solution did not please either the Marxist mob or those who wished the monument to be put back on its pedestal.
Indeed, the North Carolina Monuments Protection Law of 2015 requires the monument to be put back in its original place within 90 days. The very strict legal exceptions to this—major road work, decay of the monument that would endanger the public—obviously do not apply in this case.
Given pressure from both sides, the Board of Governors for the entire university system, having direct purview, created a special committee to come up with an “agreeable solution” for all parties.
In the meantime, the head of the Chapel Hill institution, Chancellor Carol Folt, ordered the base of the monument removed as well (in the middle of the night), once again a clear violation of the 2015 law. As a result, her resignation was requested and accepted on January 31.
But neither the monument nor its base has been put back as the law requires. Indeed, all eyes now are on the Board of Governors meeting on March 15 when its special committee is supposed to report back with that “agreeable solution.”
Here then are the questions for the UNC Board of Governors: Will they also cave to small, noisy and extreme Leftist mobs of students and Marxist activists who demand the obliteration of symbols memorializing our veterans and the total transformation of our culture? Will the Board collaborate in the flagrant violation of state law by the administration of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill?
Every indication is that they will—that they will once again direct that the monument and its base (both now in storage) be placed in a museum. And in so doing they will violate specific clauses in the 2015 Monuments Law that expressly forbid such action.
Almost certainly lawsuits will follow.
But what is fascinating about this situation is that most of the members of the UNC Board of Governors are Republicans appointed by the GOP-controlled North Carolina General Assembly. Most of them are big donors to the party, major business types, for whom having choice front-row seats at UNC basketball games and attending glitzy alumni events are very important, and who wish at all costs to “avoid unsightly controversies” which might get them labeled as racists and adverse publicity in the local leftist media (e.g. Raleigh News & Observer, WRAL-TV, etc.). Standing up for the majority of North Carolina citizens and for respect of and obedience to the laws of the state are apparently far less important.
Like other Establishment Republicans and faux-conservatives, when the Left demands that they jump, they frantically look for a way out, and mutter beneath their breath, worriedly, “how high”?
I pass on, first, an article that more than demonstrates this climate of cowering fear that possesses too many Republican office holders:
Union demands apology after seeing Confederate book displayed in congressman's office
(CNN) Members of a federal labor union visiting a Georgia Republican's congressional office Monday said they discovered a 19th-century book on display that they considered "racially offensive."
The American Federation of Government Employees is asking Rep. Drew Ferguson for a formal, public apology after its members said they found the book "General Robert Edward Lee; Soldier, Citizen and Christian Patriot," which presents Confederate ideology. Union members said that the book -- published in 1897 -- was displayed open to a page reading, "The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially, and physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their instruction as a race, and, I hope, will prepare and lead them to better things."
In a statement provided to CNN Wednesday by his spokesman, Ferguson, the Republican chief deputy whip, said he was unaware the book was even in his office and that it has since been removed. "The office was decorated by staff and the book in question was underneath a box of military challenge coins. I did not even know it was there," Ferguson said. "When my staff learned about it, they removed it and apologized to the individual who was upset by it."
The congressman later told CNN in an interview that he is "certainly as offended by the remarks in that book as anybody would be, and that's why it's no longer in the office."
Asked how a book like that ended up in his office without his knowledge, Ferguson told CNN that his office houses many history books. "Sometimes those books are left in. Sometimes they go back somewhere else. I don't know," Ferguson said. "It's a historical book of a very, very tragic time and bad time in our nation's history. Reading things that you don't agree with to help form an opinion is part of the learning process."
While a group of six union members were waiting for a meeting with Ferguson, they were invited to sit in the reception area of his office. Octavius Miller, one of the union representatives, who works with the Transportation Security Administration, said he noticed the book in a glass case near the reception area's chairs. When he noticed the pages the book was open to, he was shocked.
"The fact that this passage feels that me and my ancestors of color are immeasurably better off in the United States of America being slaves than we were in Africa, that is so disrespectful," Miller said. "My first reaction was to flip this little case upside down, and I had to think about why I was there, what I do for a living, but the disrespect and the inattention to everything that people who are colored like myself and the pigmentation of my skin had to deal with ... it enraged me."
Union members had gone to Ferguson's office to discuss TSA workers' rights, part of a legislative conference that the union arranges every year and members from around the country attend. The American Federation of Government Employees is a federal labor union that represents more than 700,000 federal employees from different agencies.
Miller decided to take photos of the pages because he "could not believe" what he was seeing, he said, and later shared them with CNN. Ferguson, who represents Georgia's 3rd Congressional District and was a dentist before beginning his political career in 2016, is Miller's congressman.
The union local President Shekina Givens, who was with the group, asked a staffer in Ferguson's office if they knew what the book on display said. The staffer said he wasn't aware of the book or the passage, according to Miller, but told the group they also had a section of George Washington's hair on display in the office.
The union members were not able to meet with Ferguson -- there was some scheduling confusion between the union and his office, Miller said.
The union contacted Ferguson's office later Monday asking for the book to be removed and for an apology from the congressman, according to a union spokesperson.
Miller told CNN he received a call from Ferguson's chief of staff, Bobby Saparow, Tuesday morning apologizing and telling him the book had been removed.
"He said he wasn't aware the book was there. He apologized maybe 15 times on the phone," Miller said. "It seemed as if they just said what was necessary to try to mitigate the situation."
The union called for a formal apology from Ferguson in a statement to CNN. "It is utterly despicable that Congressman Ferguson would dare display such a racist item so prominently in his office," National President J. David Cox Sr. said in the statement. "I am mortified for Mr. Miller and any other constituent who have had the misfortune of seeing this racist book while just trying to visit their member of Congress here in the nation's capital."
Asked Wednesday if he plans to issue a more formal apology, Ferguson told CNN, "I think that we've already done that. We spoke to the gentleman. I think we're good." A CNN producer did not see the book during a brief visit to Ferguson's office to ask the congressman's staff about the incident.
A second instance from North Carolina concerns a Wake Forest dean who back in 1982—thirty-seven years ago—stood with a group of Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers holding a Confederate Battle Flag. Notice the comment from a spokesman of the Young Democratic Socialists of America group on the campus: “How can black students and students of color feel comfortable and safe on our campus when there are photos of the Dean of Admissions and soon-to-be Senior Assistant Provost posing proudly in front of a giant confederate flag?” [Italics mine] And notice the groveling and wallowing, the abject apology by the dean, the tearful attempt to efface her nearly ineffaceable “sin” of racism.
This, then, is the ideological cudgel, the weapon of choice the Progressivists employ to silence and disauthorize any opposition, utilized to destroy the careers and even the lives of those targeted who stand in the way of the oncoming post-Marxist egalitarian Utopia. And, in far too many cases, those who are charged with maintaining the integrity of our academic institutions and those who supposedly oppose the Leftist revolutionaries—conservatives and Republicans—collaborate and enable their success, and are no opposition at all.
Here is that second story:
Raleigh News & Observer
Wake Forest dean apologizes after 37-year-old yearbook photo resurfaces
BY SIMONE JASPER FEBRUARY 22, 2019 04:36 PM,
A North Carolina university leader appeared in front of a Confederate flag in a 1982 yearbook photo and has apologized for “perpetuating harm.”
Martha Blevins Allman, dean of admissions at Wake Forest University, sent a statement Thursday acknowledging she posed in the picture that was published 37 years ago in the school yearbook. The photo shows her and members of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity standing on a staircase that has a Confederate flag hanging on it, The Howler yearbook shows. “That flag was a symbol of pain and racism then just as it is now, and I understand that much differently in 2019 than I did in 1982,” Allman said in her statement.
Students during a forum Thursday “raised concerns” about the yearbook photo, university spokeswoman Katie Neal said in an email. “How can black students and students of color feel comfortable and safe on our campus when there are photos of the Dean of Admissions and soon-to-be Senior Assistant Provost posing proudly in front of a giant confederate flag?” the campus’ chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America posted on Twitter.
Allman, who became a dean in 2001, is set to start in July as the senior assistant provost and dean of university integration, according to a campus news release published last year. That role will involve streamlining student “programs and services,” Wake Forest said.
President Nathan O. Hatch in a campus email Friday referenced Allman’s response to appearing in the Confederate flag photo years ago.
“Since then, she has devoted her professional career to improving Wake Forest, and I have accepted her apology,” Hatch said, adding that he is meeting with student and campus leaders to talk about the future.
Allman said in her statement that she is dedicated to making Wake Forest a welcoming environment.
“Throughout my career in admissions, one of my goals has been to create a more diverse and inclusive Wake Forest,” she said. “It is my hope that I will be judged by my professional dedication to Wake Forest, my faith and civic involvement, and by my future work with the Wake Forest community.”