At its June 7, 2018 monthly meeting, Arlington Public Schools (APS) revised its policy on the naming of schools, ostensibly to tighten the rules.
The actual purpose was to justify removal of Robert E. Lee’s name from Washington-Lee (W-L) High School on the grounds that as leader of the Confederate Army, Lee was a traitor to the United States.
While I agree that in defending the Confederacy Lee defended slavery, which was clearly wrong, Lee was no ordinary traitor. At the time he took up arms against the Union, the views that Lee espoused on slavery were precisely those of the Founding Fathers.
Had not George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson-all Virginia native sons and all slave holders-greased the skids of institutionalized slavery by agreeing to write it into the U.S. Constitution, Lee would not have taken up arms against his own nation.
Therefore to strike Lee’s name from W-L High School without also striking Washington’s name is hypocrisy in the extreme.
Yet that was precisely the sentiment of the majority at the June 7, 2018 Arlington School Board meeting. In fact one recent W-L graduate urged the Board to rename W-L to Washington-Tubman–the latter in honor of the famous Black abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
I ask you, how would Harriet Tubman herself feel if she were told that she was going to share the honors with a moral reprobate who held 300 slaves? For those who take offense at such criticism of George Washington, I recommend a tour of the Washington estate’s slave quarters at Mount Vernon just a few miles away.
I applaud the sensibilities of those who have rebelled against the symbols of institutionalized racism. But to suppose that social justice will be achieved by replacing institutionalized racism with institutionalized hypocrisy is sheer folly.
If you are tired of hypocrisy–whether on social issues like this or the doublespeak of elected officials in general–then support my run for Arlington School Board.
I’m a 14-year Westover resident and civic activist–with a Ph.D. in Political Science and service as a Congressional Fellow. I also serve on the Arlington Transportation Commission.
If elected, I pledge to:
- Promote a school construction program that increases classroom capacity on time and on budget
- Reduce the need for trailers with an accelerated building program that brings the cost of new classroom capacity in line with the rest of the Commonwealth
- Cut the fat out of the School Board’s top heavy administration and use the savings to fund needed services
- Close the achievement gap
- Mainstream special education programs
- Implement more efficient school transit alternatives
- Install renewable energy in all public schools
- Provide a voice–minus the doublespeak–on Arlington School Board for all taxpayers
If you share my agenda, then:
- Spread the word about my candidacy
- Donate to my campaign
If you’re interested in helping out, just shoot me an email or call or text. If you want to find out more about my campaign, visit my website.
Together we can make Arlington Public Schools provide all students with an honest education.
One comment on “PRESS RELEASE: Hypocrisy Is No Remedy For Racism”
The Founding Fathers practiced slavery, institutionalized it, soiled the constitution with the three-fifths clause.
We embrace history’s verdict that slavery, not states’ rights nor anything else, caused the Civil War. In effect, Founding Fathers laid the groundwork for the Civil War. Lee was a participant in a war that would not have happened but for their history. To inflate Lee’s culpability, and deliberately minimize theirs, is a calculated exercise in hypocrisy on steroids.
To reiterate, I care not to preserve any tribute to the Confederacy—statues, images, flags or persons. Just civility in the renaming of W-L High.
Honor an available honorable Lee with no connection to the Confederacy. Multiple options are available. Two of them signed the Declaration of Independence.
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