Saturday, January 30, 2021

Cancel Culture Reaches a New Low With the Ignoramuses of the San Francisco Board of Education

Cancel Culture Reaches a New Low With the Ignoramuses on the San Francisco School Board De-fund the police. De-name the schools. The San Francisco Board of Education voted 6:1 to remove, replace, de-name, the names of 44 schools recommended by the School renaming Advisory Committee. Two of the three public schools I attended in San Francisco are on the list: Francis Scott Key Elementary School and Lowell High School are on the list. Somehow, Amedeo Peter Giannini Junior High/Middle School survived. A. P. Giannini was the founder of the bank of America. The School board in a one hour meeting ratified the recommendation of a renaming “blue ribbon” committee created in 2018 to study the names of the district’s schools. The School Board’s Resolution said the 44 schools are named for historical figures who “significantly diminished the opportunities of those amongst us to the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That statement, of course, is inapplicable to any of the current school board or committee members, who were born long after most the maligned names had passed on. The Board’s resolution also said some of the figures “engaged in the subjugation and enslavement of human beings, or who oppressed women, inhibiting societal progress; or whose actions led to genocide.” That’s a broad statement which sounds good, but is too vague without more precise definitions. The Committee used these guiding principles: Anyone directly involved in the colonization of people; Slave owners or participants in enslavement; Perpetrators of genocide or slavery; Those who exploit workers/people; Those who directly oppressed or abused women, children, queer, or transgender people; Those connected to any human rights or environmental abuses; Those who are known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs. A reasonable interpretation of the Commission’s guidelines would include all settlers who moved onto traditional Native American lands; to wit the North American continent. The test for the committee’s recommendation was “Just One Thing.” No balancing allowed. Committee Chair Jeremiah Jeffries is a first grade teacher and activist who grew up poor in Philadelphia. One committee member said the process “seems pretty loosey-goosey.” The Chair was asked if an historian would be brought in to discuss the decisions with the committee. He responded: “Definitely not. What would be the point? History is written and documented pretty well across the board. And so, we don’t need to belabor history in that regard. We’re not debating that. There’s no point in debating history in that regard. Either it happened or it didn’t, as historians have referenced in their own histories. So, I don’t think there’s a discussion about that. And so, based on our criteria, it’s a very straightforward conversation. And so, no need to bring historians forward to say – they either pontificate and list a bunch of reasons why, or (say) they had great qualities. Neither are necessary in this discussion.” Ignorance – Ignoramuses. His statement said it all” “We are unapologetically going after white supremacy, white supremacist symbols, and making these changes people have been demanding for years.” Committee member Mary Travis Allen posited “The names of all the schools in this city should reflect people to be admired.” That is an impossible standard because we are all fallible humans. Background research usually consisted of one board member doing a quick Google search, citing to Wikipedia. A Committee member admitted the research process was “pretty quick with some really casual Google searches.” Defund the police. De-name the schools. Slave owners had to go. So too did colonizers, explorers, and missionaries, whether Spanish or American, and buildings associated with these periods, such as Mission Delores, El Dorado, and Presidio. So much for Alvarado, Balboa, Ortega, Sanchez, Ulloa, and Noriega (Why Noriega? Don’t know). FR. Junipero Serra was clearly de-named. The Alamo can remain in Texas. These are the de-named slave owning Presidents: Washington, Jefferson, and Monroe. Lincoln, who freed many slaves through the Emancipation Proclamation, was hostile to the Native Americans, as was McKinley. President Lincoln approved the Long Walk of the Navajos as they were deported from their lands in Arizona. President Lincoln also signed the Homestead Act and the Transcontinental Railroad Act, both of which resulted in the Native Americans losing their lands. Thus, he had to go. Roosevelt (not sure which one). School Board member Mark Sanchez didn’t know which one, but called the vote a “moral message.” He said “It’s a message to our families, our students and our community. It’s not just symbolic.” Ignorant. Francis Scott Key may have written the national Anthem, but he was a slave owner. Paul Revere may or may not, the Committee wasn’t sure, have led a campaign against the Penobscot Indians. In any event he was a colonizer, and so had to go. Mayor Adolph Sutro build the Sutro Baths. Admission was refused an African American. The discrimination though was by his son, Adolph did not manage the baths. Sutro was Sutro as far as the Committee was concerned. Senator Diane Feinstein The Diane Feinstein Elementary School celebrating the esteemed Senator is headed for the de-naming scrap heap. The Senator has two strikes against her. First was the forcible eviction of the Filipino and Chinese residents in the International Hotel in 1977. The land was scheduled for development. Supervisor Feinstein did not become Mayor of San Francisco until the year after the hotel was demolished, but the facts of history do not matter to the Board. They don’t care about history and facts. Ignorance. The second strike involves the flying of a Confederate Flag. The city had a circle for 14 years of 18 flags in the Pavilion of America Flags. The Confederate Flag was torn apart. She ordered it replaced to complete the display. It was taken down again. Mayor Feinstein this time ordered that it stay down. Lowell High School Lowell High School is in a different situation. It was founded in 1856 as Union Grammar School, becoming a high school by 1860. It was named Boys High in 1864, the first high school west of the Mississippi River. It merged a couple of decades later with Girls High. The Board renamed it Lowell High School in 1894 in honor of James Russell Lowell. The School Board in 1952 designated Lowell as an academic magnet school in todays’ terminology. Competition exists for admissions to Lowell. The admissions process include a standardized test, grades, and an essay. The demographics of Lowell in 2018 were 61%, 18% white, 11% Hispanic and 2% African American. Commissioner Allison Collins with a masters in education said “There is no scientific justification for using standardized tests as a matrix for performance.” She wants to end “racial isolation” at Lowell. Commissioner Mark Sanchez says Lowell’s admissions process perpetuates “systemic racism.” He thinks it violates state law, but it doesn’t. He apparently either did not read or ignores that the statutory qualification that preserves these admissions practices. He mused: “I’m at the point now where I think that we should not have any kind of special requirements” for admission to Lowell. This battle over Lowell reflects a national attempt to eliminate academic public high schools. For example, New York Mayor de Blasio unsuccessfully attempted to change the admissions at eight high schools including the Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant, and Brooklyn Technical High School. The “Just One Thing” for Lowell, a prominent abolitionist, was one line, unsupported by any reference in Wikipedia: “Therefore, he did not want Black people to vote.” That was it – ignorance – ignoramuses. Martin Duberman’s biography of James Russell Lowell says “Making the freedman a landholder would not be enough to protect him. He had to be made a voter as well. At a time when even Thaddeus Stevens was hesitant, Lowell unequivocally advocated giving the ballot to the recently freed slaves.” Let’s look at the seven Board members, or commissioners as they call themselves. The Board members , backed by the teachers union, won election in small turnout elections. They are woke social justice warriors. Several were community organizers and activists. The Board is highly diversified with only one white member. Several grew up poor, but rather than appreciating the America which made their success possible, they damn America. They are a board of identity politics. These are the same wokes on the Minneapolis, Portland, and Seattle City Councils. Defund; de-name. Let us note the Committee and Board are not consistent. They refused to apply the “Just one Thing” standard to Malcolm X and Cesar Chavez. Malcolm X was a pimp in his younger days, “directly oppressing or abusing women.” His life story and later actions and life story overcame the “Just One Thing.” They viewed his later acts as “restorative justice.” Cesar Chavez was the charismatic co-founder of the United Farmworkers. I worked on a short project for them in 1990 and think the world of him. He and his co-founder Delores Huerta, deserve all the honors they deserve. The third generation American opposed in his early years illegal Mexican immigration of Mexicans because they would serve as strikebreakers. He later changed his mind, but “Just One Thing” would axe him. The San Francisco Unified School District Board and the School Renaming Advisory Board did not care about historical facts. That would interfere with their narrative. They preferred ignorance. They are zealots. If the citizens of San Francisco want spreading filth and decadence from the homeless, criminals getting out on the street by a feckless District Attorney, and school board members denying America, they deserve it. The San Francisco voters will determine their future. Excising and erasing history does not change history. It just makes us more ignorant. Tearing down statues and monuments, renaming buildings, and gutting successful progams in the name of equality does not make us better or equal; it lowers the quality of life for everyone.

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