President Woodrow Wilson was a Princeton man, graduating, teaching, and heading the place which named a few things after him.
Conservatives have spent years pointing out that Wilson was fairly racist, at least when it came to black people, and now that we’re having out great reckoning, Princeton is purging Wilson.
I’ve spent plenty of time writing about it, and some years back, noted that Princeton would have to do a lot more…
Woody was indeed a racist. Though even on his worst day he was still about 40% less racist than a #BlackLivesMatter protester screaming about “whiteness”. But if Princeton wants to get rid of him, it also needs to jettison his motto, “Princeton in the Nation’s Service” or in its current transnational incarnation, “Princeton in the Service of the Nations”. And then it needs to get rid of the color orange that defines its brand. The orange is in honor of William III whose reign oversaw the slave trade.
It ought to go without saying, this kind of thing is stupid.
By contemporary standards, nearly every president would probably qualify as a bigot. So would 99% of all human beings who ever lived. The same reasons that make me think that Woody was a disaster also explain why he was pivotal in the transformation of the Democrat Party into a far more liberal party. It would be impossible to conceive of the Democrats as they are today, without Wilson.
Purging him is dishonest and cuts away a big chunk of history.
The past was flawed, so is the present, and so will the future. These purges play into a progressive delusion that we are headed to some utopia if we just purge enough of the past.
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