As noted yesterday, this week has seen an extraordinary amount of incredibly insightful and poignant essays. Add this fine one to the mix which also offers a lesson on our moral perspectives regarding historical figures:
“It is unfair to people in the past to judge them based on present understandings of morality. Our present understandings of morality cannot exist without what happened before, because what happened before was necessarily a contributing factor to those understandings.”
Racism continues to be a defining issue of 2015. Any person of color will likely tell you that racism is always a defining issue of any given year, past present or future. But the last few years are unique in that broader society is actually discussing the effects racism continues to have on society. Since this is the internet, by “discussing” I mean “calling each other fascists and racist and misogynistic slurs.” It’s still an improvement from the status quo, when the routine oppression of people of color was ignored by everyone except the immediate witnesses. One of the later manifestations of this broad-based consciousness of race is the growing furor to drop President Woodrow Wilson’s name and likenesses from Princeton University, a school Wilson administered as its president before doing the same for the whole country.
Sometimes these “change the name” targets make sense. Jefferson Davis’ only meaningful legacy is…
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