Commentary

Here's Your 'Reparations': San Francisco Will Pay $600K To Destroy Historic George Washington Mural

As part of a broader effort to exert control over the culture, the modern-day progressive left has increasingly borrowed a page out of the communist playbook.

How so? Well, they’re advocating for, and succeeding at, covering up or destroying historical artwork, memorials and statues that don’t fully align with the left’s current revisionist narratives on American history.

This movement has gained momentum over the past few years, as the left has repeatedly attacked the Confederate flag and destroyed Confederate memorials and statues, citing links to racism and slavery.

Concerns were raised by opponents to the idea, who asked, “Where does this stop?” and wondered if the nation’s Founding Fathers — some of whom were slaveholders or did other unpleasant things — would be the left’s next targets.

Despite prior assurances from the left that there was nothing to worry about, it turns out those concerns were well-founded.

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Look no further than the fact that a San Francisco high school, named after our nation’s first president, George Washington, is now about to completely cover up and destroy a beautifully produced and historically accurate mural depicting the Founding Father’s life.

KQED reported that the San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of painting over the large mural dedicated to Washington due to complaints from some activists that parts of the mural featuring depictions of slavery and Native American genocide during the nation’s early years fostered a “hostile environment” for minority students.

The board’s vote set in motion an estimated $600,000 plan to paint over the famous mural, which is known as the “Life of Washington.”

Confronted with concerns about the high estimated cost, commissioner Mark Sanchez simply replied, “This is reparations.”

Are you sick of the left applying their modern-day narratives to historical events and figures?

That statement should make it abundantly clear that the current talk among the left about reparations for slavery will not end with a one-and-done monetary payout to descendants of slaves.

Instead, the left will use reparations as an open-ended excuse to go after anything even remotely associated with the nation’s dark history of slavery — or anything else they dislike, for that matter — including our nation’s revered founders.

Back to the “Life of Washington” mural, which was created in 1936 by a Russian artist named Victor Arnautoff, a “social realist” and avowed communist, according to WQED.

Arnautoff, quite ironically, developed the 1,600-square-foot, 13-panel mural as “counter narrative” that provided a fuller picture of the first president’s life, according to Arnautoff’s biographer, Robert Cherny.

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Two of the mural’s panels, in particular, are at the center of the controversy.

“One shows Washington among his slaves at Mount Vernon, while in another he directs white men with guns westward, over the body of an apparently slain Native American,” WQED noted.

Rather than simply cover up the two panels deemed offensive, the school board decided to paint over the entire work of art, even as opponents of art censorship have loudly decried the move.

The controversy over the mural actually isn’t anything new, as complaints have been registered as far back as the 1960s.

But the decision to paint over the entire mural flies in the face of previous efforts to have it protected as a historical landmark, as well as a reasonable compromise solution that was reached in 1968 to provide more context with a “response” mural located nearby.

That mural — completed in 1974 by a young black artist named Dewey Crumpler — was titled, “Multi-Ethnic Heritage: Black, Asian, Native/Latin American. According to KQED, it depicted “empowered people of color rendered in a fiery, sunburst palette near the Arnautoff mural.”

Incredibly, Crumpler, who is now a professor of painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, opposes the plan to paint over the Arnautoff mural.

“Without Arnautoff’s murals, my murals are irrelevant. And without my murals, Arnautoff’s murals are irrelevant,” he said recently. “They are one thing.”

While the school board voted unanimously to paint over the Arnautoff mural, it was guided in that decision by an advisory panel known as the Reflection and Action Group, which held several public meetings on the issue.

One of the advisory group’s members, Lope Yap Jr. — vice president of the school’s alumni association — spoke out against the decision and urged the board to reconsider an option to add yet another “response” mural.

“Anything less than whitewashing for the opposition would be a compromise,” Yap Jr. told KQED.

He vowed to file a lawsuit, if necessary, on “several grounds” to prevent the destruction of the historical mural.

“We’ll use every tactic available,” he said.

As Yap Jr. aptly noted, this is yet another example of how the left is intent on “whitewashing” U.S. history of anything that offends their progressive sensibilities.

While that effort may have started with Confederate memorials, it has quite predictably moved on to the nation’s founders.

Now, there is no telling where the movement will turn its revisionist attention next.

In the words of philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

By covering up and painting over this Washington mural, the school board is removing an opportunity for students to learn about our nation’s past, unsightly warts and all.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
Birthplace
Louisiana
Nationality
American
Education
The School of Life
Location
Little Rock, Arkansas
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics




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