Last month, the city of San Francisco hit the pause button on a woke initiative that was too asinine even for them.
San Francisco School Board President Gabriela López announced in a Feb. 21 opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle that the city by the bay would stop, for now, the process of renaming its schools.
“There have been many distracting public debates as we’ve been working to reopen our schools,” López wrote. “School renaming has been one of them. It was a process begun in 2018 with a timeline that didn’t anticipate a pandemic. I acknowledge and take responsibility that mistakes were made in the renaming process.”
This was the sensible thing to do, given that San Francisco’s schools aren’t even reopened for in-person learning. So naturally, I was crestfallen. There ain’t no pointless controversy like a San Francisco pointless controversy because the pointless wokeness doesn’t stop.
Sure, the school board had plenty of other things to do like, say, opening the schools — but couldn’t we get in a bit of ridiculousness before that?
Because, make no mistake, the campaign to rename schools in San Francisco wasn’t just ridiculous, it was seriousness-proof.
This didn’t just have anything to do with the fact that George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Paul Revere were going to get their names taken off of schools, according to multiple reports.
When board members voted 6-1 to rename 44 troublesome schools, they didn’t realize it wouldn’t just be old, white slave-owners who would get their names taken off of these schools.
Case in point: Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The California senator, a left-wing icon, likely will have her name stripped from a school because, when a protester took down a Confederate flag in a park that was part of a Civic Center display in the 1980s, she was credited with putting it back up when she was the city’s mayor.
According to The New Yorker, “A spokesperson for Feinstein said that the city’s parks department replaced the flag ‘on its own accord.’ She later had it replaced with a Union flag.”
Whatever. No school for you.
This kind of poor research wasn’t an outlier. In fact, until it was taken down, a Google Docs spreadsheet of a San Francisco school board committee’s notes was publicly available, and it was spectacular. If you ever wanted to find out what people who aren’t thinking are thinking, this was your opportunity.
And nothing exemplified this better than the case of Alamo Elementary School.
The name was being changed because — well, here were the notes: “Colonization, but also means popar tree in Spanish. ‘Remember the Alamo’ was a call for vengeance against Mexicans that was used as a rallying cry at San Jacinto.”
It’s worth pointing out that the Alamo was the site of a siege during the Texas war for independence in which Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s forces, which vastly outnumbered the Texans, killed virtually all 200 of Texas’ soldiers, according to history.com.
One could see how it would be used as a rallying cry during a war, although when it was used as a call for vengeance against Mexicans in any kind of modern context is unclear.
The San Francisco School Board notes cited two sources, both from hard-left publications that are scarcely known: The San Antonio Report and the Texas Observer.
An excerpt from the Observer piece: “The Alamo is, after all, dedicated to the American fear of the Mexican body, of Mexican invasion, of Mexican agency that firmly and directly contested agendas of white supremacy in early 19th-century Texas.”
At least these are publications, however. Many sources for renaming the schools come from Wikipedia. Students are taught not to cite the open-source, freely edited encyclopedia in schools, but those aren’t open in San Francisco now, so I’m guessing that’s part of the issue.
Of course, there are the usual founding fathers who have been stripped of their titles because they’re no longer politic. George Washington, father of our country, certainly fits under this rubric.
“Slaveowner, colonizer,” the note read under his entry.
And then there’s the beautiful, if lengthy, reason why Abraham Lincoln should have his name taken off of a high school.
“Abraham Lincoln is not seen as much of a hero at all among many American Indian Nations and Native peoples of the United States, as the majority of his policies proved to be detrimental to them. For instance, the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 helped precipitate the construction of the transcontinental railroad, which led to the significant loss of land and natural resources, as well as the loss of lifestyle and culture, for many Indigneous peoples,” the note read.
“In addition, rampant corruption in the Indian Office, the precursor of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, continued unabated throughout Lincoln’s term and well beyond. In many cases, government-appointed Indian agents outright stole resources that were supposed to go to the tribes. In other cases, the Lincoln administration simply continued to implement discriminatory and damaging policies, like placing Indians on reservations.
“Beginning in 1863, the Lincoln administration oversaw the removal of the Dine’ Nation (Navajo) and the Mescalero Apaches from the New Mexico Territory, forcing the Dine’ to march the ‘Long Walk’ of 450 miles to Bosque Redondo—a brutal journey. Eventually, more than 2,000 died before a treaty was signed. Also responsible for the Dakota 38+2, largest mass hanging in US history.”
What it doesn’t mention is that Lincoln was a wretch until the very end. If you’ve never seen it, “Our American Cousin” — the play Lincoln saw at Ford’s Theatre on his fateful night in 1865 — is a classist jibe at the undereducated. Have you, at long last, have no shame, President Lincoln?
Alas, this wonderful Google document has been taken down for the time being, so we won’t hear any elaboration about how the slaughter of Texans at the Alamo is actually colonization.
At some point, the matter will be taken up again.
“In the meantime, this is the last time I’ll comment publicly on renaming until schools are reopened,” López wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle. “We will not be taking valuable time from our board agendas to further discuss this, as we need to prioritize reopening.”
If only they’d been so sensible the first time around.
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