Editor’s note: The management of the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida recently informed the David Horowitz Freedom Center that the hotel will no longer host the Center’s Restoration Weekend, which it had done for 19 of the 27 years the Center has held the annual event. The Breakers’ management now states that the Center is too controversial, and therefore cannot be welcomed back again.
Below, Frontpage Contributor Danusha Goska shares the thoughts she expressed to the Breakers management. We encourage our readers to respectfully do the same at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dear Paul N. Leone and Tricia Taylor,
I hope I am addressing this note to the correct persons. I hope to reach the managers of the Breakers Hotel.
I don’t know the Breakers’ managers, but I will wager that you are connoisseurs. Who but a connoisseur could create and animate so exquisite an experience as is offered at the Breakers? I imagine that you are reflected in every taste of the cuisine, in the selection of every libation, the positioning of every chair, the petals in every bouquet, and the professionalism of the staff. I have no idea who you are, and yet I am in awe of you. You are maestros, conducting a magnificent orchestra.
I have traveled the world and have accepted many accommodations, from the Taj Palace in Mumbai to a smokey, clay-floored Tibetan home high in the Himalaya, where the wife and her two husbands drank yak butter tea cooked over an open fire as a blizzard raged just beyond the fragile, thangka-bedecked walls. The Breakers provided me with one of the most memorable roofs under which I have slept.
I first visited your hotel in 2016, when I was a speaker at the David Horowitz Freedom Center Restoration Weekend. I attended again this year. I learned that The Breakers no longer wishes to host the David Horowitz Freedom Center, because there is an accusation that the DHFC is “white supremacist.” Please hear me as one American citizen to another. Please hear me as a customer who cares about where her money is spent, and who is aware of outraged consumers’ rising tide of resistance against corporations that surrender to Woke intimidation.
I am a first generation American. I am Catholic and physically handicapped. My first job after college was teaching in a remote village in the Central African Republic, then rated the poorest country on earth. After that, I taught in Nepal, a similarly poor country. I currently live in Paterson, New Jersey. Paterson and the Breakers have this in common – both played a role in the Negro Leagues. Otherwise, we are very different. Paterson is a majority-minority city. Paterson, a heroin hub, is ranked one of the ten most dangerous small cities in the US. Thirty percent of our population lives, as I do, below the poverty line. I teach majority-minority students. I have had numerous “black and brown” friends, bosses, and coworkers. White supremacists don’t associate with people like me. In fact they harass and kill people like me.
I spoke at the Breakers in 2016 at the personal invitation of David Horowitz. I spoke about my “black and brown” students. I spoke about their hardships and their hopes. I spoke about the daily realities of life for poor minorities in cities like Paterson, NJ. I did all this in your hotel. How often have you invited people like me to talk in the Breakers about the plight of poor black people? I would guess rarely, if ever. Would a white supremacist invite such a talk at his conference? We both know the answer.
Indeed, David Horowitz has devoted his entire life to lifting people up, not putting people down, including black people. When he was younger, he worked with and for the Black Panthers. This was because he wanted to help black people, and he thought that leftist solutions were the way to do so. He discovered that the Panthers had tortured and murdered his friend and fellow Black Panther supporter, Betty Van Patter, and rather than slinking away from danger and controversy, as many would do, David worked for justice for Betty. This is not the behavior of a white supremacist.
David is the proud and loving father-in-law of an African American daughter-in-law and grandfather to grandchildren with African ancestry. And, of course, David is a proud Jew. Again, white supremacists don’t support people like David Horowitz. White supremacists kill people like David Horowitz.
At the 2021 conference, I was not a speaker, but I did make a brief, pubic comment after scholar Heather MacDonald spoke. Heather MacDonald writes about what I live: the violent crime wave that is consuming African Americans and others in cities like Paterson. I took the mic and spoke about my student, whom I identified only as K. K was a gang member. He acknowledged selling crack cocaine to black mothers in front of their children. He never attended class and did no work. He was young, healthy, tall, and muscular. One might think that K was a happy-go-lucky guy, living the gangsta dream.
In fact K used to come to my office hours and cry in my arms. I’m not talking about sniffles. I’m talking about sobs. K had no idea who his parents were. He was raised by a kindly neighbor lady who died. Her family moved on her possessions and K was homeless. The gang was his only family.
I used to think that left-wing solutions would rescue young men like K. David Horowitz’s work turned me around, after a lifetime of being left-wing. I began to realize that conservative solutions like intact families, delayed gratification, and self-discipline were the road to a better life, or even just mere survival, for the millions of K’s out there.
I said this in my brief comment after Heather MacDonald’s talk.
All weekend long, conference attendees approached me. Many of these attendees were teachers; others were physicians. They pulled me aside and told me of their own efforts to help the K’s that they know. One doctor moved me deeply by telling me about his efforts to help black heroin addicts and even black burglars attempting to rob his exclusive, gated Florida community. The teachers told me of their efforts to help failing students with enrichment materials and mentorship. They met only road blocks from left-wing administrators who wanted no part of right-wing solutions. Not a few of these conference attendees broke into tears while telling me of their thwarted efforts to reach out. That’s what goes on at a David Horowitz conference. Caring people networking on how to help the K’s of this world. That’s what your hotel hosted this past weekend.
Please do not malign these American citizens, who, I have to guess, are doing work that you yourself are not doing. Yes, you are doing good work. The world needs beautiful hotels. The world also needs people willing to enter dangerous, abandoned urban neighborhoods and reach out to children who are just about doomed by a culture of violence and hopelessness, and paralyzed by self-flattering lies from white leftists who insist that poor black people are helpless victims, that America is a racist wasteland, that blacks can do nothing to help themselves, that they all must wait patiently for the white leftist savior to shower them with government programs that will somehow deliver the salvation that government programs have promised and not delivered since the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson.
David Horowitz and every one of the Restoration Weekend speakers believe that African Americans can lift themselves up just as other oppressed groups have done. Jason L. Riley, himself a black man, provides ample statistics to prove this empowering message in his aptly titled book, “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed.” This message is also supported by other black conservatives like Shelby Steele, Candace Owens, Thomas Sowell, John McWhorter, Christine Williams, Jason D. Hill, and too many others to mention. By the way, Christine Williams and Jason D. Hill, both black, write for David Horowitz’s publication Front Page Magazine.
Look. We all know what’s happening here. The left can’t debate David Horowitz on ideas, so it slanders him with false accusations of racism. The real victims are those who would be helped by Horowitz’s ideas, but who never encounter them, because of intimidation and silencing, an intimidation and silencing you appear to participate in. If that is truly your decision, you are covering your own exquisite derrieres, while sabotaging my young, black neighbors.
In the 1950s, during the Red Scare, Hollywood studios stopped hiring fine actors like John Garfield, not because of the quality of his product, but because he had been identified as potential Communist. Villagers in sixteenth-century Germany knew that that elderly beggar woman in town was no witch, but they knew if they came to her defense, they’d come under the harsh light of suspicion, too. In 2006, Duke University administrators joined in the attack when its lacrosse players were accused, utterly falsely, of rape. The accused were completely exonerated, but no matter. Their names were dragged through the mud, and their university betrayed them. We now look back at human behavior during all these panics and we feel contempt for those who chose to play the role of a cowardly weasel.
Yes, the Breakers is lovely. I have spent many a happy moment lost in contemplating its architecture, its row of palms full of parrots. I saw my first living shark my final night at the breakers in 2016. The shark was illuminated by the Breakers’ flood lights that transform the hem of the Atlantic Ocean into a lacy turquoise fringe.
As with a lovely face, it takes more than external appearances for beauty to rise to transcendence. When we gaze upon the bust of Nefertiti, it’s not just her elegant neck, her smooth cheek, that enchant us, and generations of humans going back thousands of years. Nefertiti looks, simply, like something more than a beauty. She looks thoughtful. She looks kind. It’s not any exaggeration to say that Nefertiti looks like she has integrity. It is that inner integrity, reflected through the magic of artistry, that has made Nefertiti the object of human awe for millennia.
The Breakers is pretty, but ranked, as it is, on the National Register of Historic Places, it can and should be more. Its lovely bones should express integrity. You, Paul N. Leone and Tricia Taylor, can manifest that integrity. I ask that you do. I ask in the name of David Horowitz, a good and compassionate man who invited a low-income former Peace Corps Volunteer to attend his conference so she could talk about her “black and brown” students living in one of America’s ten most dangerous small cities. I ask in the name of my student, K. Thank you for considering this request.
Danusha Goska is the author of God through Binoculars: A Hitchhiker at a Monastery.