Deroy Murdock: Princeton divorces Woodrow Wilson — but meaningful change trumps moral exhibitionism

In an act of unparalleled valor, Princeton University has yanked President Woodrow Wilson’s name from its School of Public and International Affairs. Like other recent acts of racial symbolism, it’s unclear how this will improve black lives.

“Woodrow Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college,” Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber said of his predecessor, who led the university from 1902-10.

In his darker moments, Wilson revealed his pitch-black soul.


The longtime Democrat hero, once beloved by the Left for launching the income tax and promoting the League of Nations, hosted a 1915 White House screening of the pro-KKK film, “The Birth of a Nation.” Wilson said of D.W. Griffith’s motion picture, “It’s like writing history with lightning. My only regret is that it is all so terribly true.” Despite this ugliness, critics still applaud this cinematic milestone’s silent storytelling artistry.

There is no saving grace for Wilson’s resegregation of the previously integrated bathrooms in what is now the Eisenhower Executive Office Building — immediately west of the White House.

As the relevant order stated: “Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 9, 1916, the toilets in the state, war and navy department buildings will be allotted for use as toilets… For Women… For White Men… [and] For Colored Men.”

This document was signed by none other than Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“He segregated the federal civil service after it had been racially integrated for decades,” Eisgruber said of Wilson, “thereby taking America backward in its pursuit of justice.”

Princeton’s divorce from this racist Democrat is understandable and far less problematic than vandalizing and destroying statues and other public artworks that tell the history of America the beautiful — and the blemished.

Still, what does Princeton’s gesture really accomplish?

Not to be outdone, Wilson’s successor in Trenton has declared war on … his desk. Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, suddenly ditched the desk that served Wilson and subsequent governors.

How odd.

Murphy’s move anthropomorphizes a stick of furniture. Wilson used the desk. It is neither a bust nor a carving of America’s 28th president. Murphy has injected symbolism into something that does not symbolize the hated person du jour.

Wilson surely strolled across Princeton’s walkways. Why not jackhammer the offending paths and replace them with freshly poured concrete? Did Wilson sleep even one night in the official governor’s mansion? If so, burn it down!

Meanwhile, Boston University seems poised to cancel its school mascot. If this Boston terrier were named Robert E. Lee, one might sympathize. But BU’s avatar is a dog named Rhett. The pup was christened after Rhett Butler, an imaginary character in “Gone with the Wind,” a work of fiction. BU’s school color is scarlet, much like Scarlett, as in Scarlett O’Hara, Rhett’s literary and cinematic wife in GWTW. So, Rhett, the dog, is leashed to these make-believe characters in this invented tale.

How silly.

Why not demolish any BU building that faces south? Smash any structure oriented (is that word still OK?) toward the slave-owning, Democrat-run Jim Crow South!


Such liberal virtue signals — and scores of others that have flashed since George Floyd’s police-involved killing — will not make a damn bit of difference in the lives of black people.

Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson told that today’s statue killers “have the mistaken assumption that black people are sitting around cheering for them saying ‘Oh, my God, look at these white people. They’re doing something so important to us. They’re taking down the statue of a Civil War general who fought for the South.’” Johnson added: “In my opinion, black people laugh at white people who do this, the same way we laugh at white people who say we got to take off the TV shows.”

“It’s not going to close the labor gap between what white workers are paid and what black workers are paid,” added Johnson, a black billionaire. “And it’s not going to take people off welfare or food stamps.”

Likewise, changing the Wilson School’s brass nameplates will not help one black student in Camden, N.J., enter Princeton.

Hurling Wilson’s desk into the attic won’t curb Newark’s black-on-black homicide rate.

And renaming BU’s mascot from Rhett to Rover to Walter or even Tiffany will not make the Boston cops any likelier to enforce the law in a manner that pleases Americans of all backgrounds.

Did the absence of Confederate statues in Democrat-run Minneapolis save George Floyd?


Liberals should cease these hollow gestures and, instead, perform deeds that concretely enhance the plight of black people.

Start with school choice and assure that American children — black, brown, yellow and white — in safe classrooms actually learn something, namely how to read, write, compute and think. They are entitled to prepare for productive adulthood and active citizenship. Government schools largely steal this birthright.

Privately funded after-school enrichment, mentorship and college-preparatory programs, like The Harlem Educational Activities Fund, should blossom in every underserved community. For years, 100 percent of HEAF’s almost entirely low-income, black and Hispanic government-school students have graduated high school. They all attend college — including Howard, Texas A&M and Yale, among many others — and 83 percent earn bachelor degrees.

Manhattan real-estate magnate Dan Rose launched HEAF in 1990 after discovering that Gotham’s worst-rated government school kept its one ball under lock and key.

Americans should boost the success prospects for black entrepreneurs, so they can create jobs, earn decent wages and care for themselves and their families, loved ones, friends and neighbors. 

Americans should guarantee that there are enough decent police officers to foil criminals, so that these positive things can happen. Good cops deserve kudos. Bad cops deserve convictions.

These things require hard work, but they yield real results — unlike the Left’s quick, easy and utterly trivial conquest of school names, office furniture and canine mascots. In short: Meaningful change trumps moral exhibitionism.


Bucknell University’s Michael Malarkey contributed research to this opinion piece. 

TAGS: Deroy Murdock Princeton divorces Woodrow Wilson but meaningful change trumps moral exhibitionism

06 Jul 2020 02:22   |    218


Of the people there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day;" but they do not (really) believe.Fain would they deceive Allah and those who believe, but they only deceive themselves, and realize (it) not!In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: And grievous is the penalty they (incur), because they are false (to themselves).  (The Cow   8-10 )


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