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Banal Racism and the Tearing Down of Statues

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/06/15/banal-racism-and-tearing-down-statues

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A society can only progress as long as the accurate retelling of it’s history is adhered to.

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Here’s a tale of the banality of scholarship. This very nice column references something by Ward Churchill, so naturally I’d like to read it. No such luck: Churchill’s paper belongs to a journal called Social Justice which is bricked up behind JSTOR’s paywall. I remember JSTOR: It’s that pirate firm, in the business of appropriating publicly-financed information, which led to the death of Aaron Swartz (say his name) after he was senselessly persecuted for challenging them. How’s that for Social Justice?

It’s an absurd outrage that Ward Churchill’s works are kenneled for measly profit at JSTOR.

In July of 2011, a grand jury indicted [Swartz] on four counts, including wire fraud, computer fraud, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. It added another nine counts in September of 2012. Swartz hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment on January 11, 2013, while awaiting trial.

The Inside Story of Why Aaron Swartz Broke Into MIT and JSTOR
~https://newrepublic.com/article/112418/aaron-swartz-suicide-why-he-broke-jstor-and-mit

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Hi PontBoy:
Many of us had chorus in class and we sang holiday songs all the time.We had Columbus
Day too and we all git to sing this song!

“In fourteen hundred ninety-two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
****But that song left out truth, so it’s updated now. *****
But sad the Indians they called red,
were worked to death—and all are dea

Schools are changing—but the government is slow as hell. : (

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Funny how the icons of history become so tainted, so damn toxic once the veils of hidden horrors become apparent, that we have to act to remove the abominations erected in sublime ignorance of their crimes. Good!! I hope they all are removed or destroyed and the legacy of colonization is seen and taught for what it truly was. Banal or not, they have to go and the real stories have to be told for what they were.

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There might be a way around it here:
~https://all-med.net/pdf/from-a-native-daughter/
(4th book, first chapter)

But it requires setting up a (supposedly free) account, which probably has some nuisance factor, so I haven’t tried it out myself.

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A little off topic, but dealing w/ symbols, kneeling and the flag seems to have been coopted, and subsumed into Marcuse’s dreaded one dimension w/ now seemingly everyone kneeling down to the flag, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if done w/ the right intentions, but once BLM and kneeling become a peppy McDonald’s commercial, it may lose some force. I never thought it was very radical as the right made it out to be as people kneel out of respect. How bout some radicalism and have kids (of their own volition) flip off the flag in school (free speech) instead of kneel and help them w/ any lawsuits… that seems more like an edgy protest for the moment… yeah, though, the monuments are lame.

Long before the Civil War our most famous Americans, our Presidents, were guilty of owning slaves. George Washington owned 300 slaves! Thomas Jefferson owned 600 slaves! And nine other early Presidents owned slaves. Was slavery immoral? Of course it was. These practitioners of Christianity excused themselves from obeying the most fundamental teaching of Jesus, “Treat others the way you would like to be treated,” in order to be rich.

Can a Black American feel reverence at the monuments to these Presidents knowing that they had held his or her ancestor in bondage for life; sold parents away from their children; had people whipped for not working hard enough in the summer heat; supported laws to chase down slaves who managed to escape and brought them back to be whipped? We are taught in kindergarten that George Washington never told a lie; except to himself, that he was not a bad person for being a slave owner. Yes, he was! Should White Americans re-examine our admiration of him? Yes! We owe it to our fellow citizens to stop behaving like kindergarteners who must have the truth whitewashed. If the monuments to the ‘greatness’ of our founding slave owners will not be removed they should be draped in black to remind us that they chose wealth over their own consciences. And those who treasure the memory of the Confederacy without feeling shame seem not to have consciences at all.