Washington’s Name Seen as Sullied
Robert Stacy McCain, The Washington Times, Feb. 23
George Washington has gone from hero to villain in the eyes of historians because of political correctness, a history professor said at a weekend conference in Herndon.
Washington’s reputation has been destroyed by “cultural Marxists,” who have decided that because “the father of our country owned slaves [he] is not fit to have his name on a grammar school,” said Roger D. McGrath, who teaches at California State University-Northridge.
Applying a politically correct standard to history “eliminates nearly every white man from our pantheon of heroes” and is “part of an effort to deconstruct Western civilization,” Mr. McGrath told the American Renaissance (AR) conference.
He cited a 1997 decision of school board officials in New Orleans to remove Washington’s name from an elementary school and quoted the board president: “The idea of kids going to a school named after a slave owner was demeaning. We wanted the kids to identify with role models from their own heritage.”
Such judgments, Mr. McGrath said, mean that children must reject as heroes nearly all the Founding Fathers, as well as early American leaders such as Andrew Jackson.
“South of the Mason-Dixon Line, most prominent and wealthy men were slaveholders; most men who lived on the frontier were Indian fighters; nearly all white men everywhere considered the Negro race inferior,” Mr. McGrath said. “If historians or others accept politically correct standards and superimpose them on men who lived 100 or 200 years ago, they will be led, inexorably, to the destruction of those same men.”
Mr. McGrath is author of the 1984 book “Gunfighters, Highwaymen & Vigilantes” and is considered an authority on the history of America’s Western frontier.
A Marine veteran, Mr. McGrath blamed political correctness for the omission of military figures such as World War II heroes Pappy Boyington and Audie Murphy from history textbooks today.
“It is difficult to not conclude that the authors and publishers fear portraying white men in a heroic light. Such portrayals just might inspire boys today to behave in a manner admired by their ancestors,” he said.
The weekend gathering at the Dulles Hyatt was the sixth biennial conference organized by AR, a monthly journal about race issues that has been included in “hate group” listings by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a self-designated civil-rights “watchdog” group.
AR publisher Jared Taylor, a Yale graduate and international business consultant, is the author of the 1992 book “Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has included Mr. Taylor on its “Extremism in America” list, accusing him of promoting “pseudoscientific ... studies to validate the superiority of whites.”
About 200 persons attended the weekend conference. Speakers included Philip du Toit, a Cape Town lawyer who lectured about “The Crisis in Southern Africa,” and University of Delaware history professor Raymond Wolters, whose address was titled “50 Years Since Brown v. Board of Education.”
In a Saturday dinner speech, syndicated columnist Joe Sobran noted warnings by the ADL that Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” might foster anti-Semitic beliefs.
“Are they going to apologize if it doesn’t incite anti-Semitism?” he asked.
During a question-and-answer session, one Jewish attendee criticized Mr. Sobran’s statements about Israel’s influence in American foreign policy, particularly the Iraq war, which the columnist said did not “serve any real American interests.”
Mr. Sobran responded by referring to members and supporters of the Bush administration, saying: “I know Jewish communists I trust more than these Christian conservatives.”