By Dr. Boyd Cathey
Most every Thursday I gather with a group of friends for lunch at some restaurant in Raleigh. Among the group are three PhDs in history, and one who holds two masters degrees in history. All of us are former employees of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (now Natural and Cultural Resources)…and we all share very similar points of view about politics and the shape of this nation.
This past Thursday while enjoying some great home cooking at Pam’s Farmhouse Restaurant with my friends I picked up a copy Raleigh’s Leftist weekly newspaper, INDYweek (March 27, 2019). I usually read it only for the entertainment reviews and ads. The political content is abhorrent (note: about fifteen years ago the publication attacked me as a right wing extremist and “racist” when the Sons of Confederate Veterans, in which I’m active, was going through a controversy over its response to attacks on Confederate heritage).
Under the section “IndyMusic” I happened across an article — an interview with the young members of a Durham, NC-based punk-rock band called “The Muslims.” The color photograph accompanying the article indicated — if I may do a little racial profiling — that one of them, the female vocalist, was black; the other two appeared to be white and perhaps Hispanic.
The interview struck me — not because of the incessant and repeated use of foul and filthy language, the utilization of which has become normative in our modern American culture—but because of how the members of the group encapsulated succinctly what so many militants on the unhinged Left, the social justice warriors who demonstrate on our campuses and in the streets of our major cities, actually think and what they aspire to achieve, their objectives, both immediate and long range.
Here is what the band vocalist named QADR told the interviewer:
…we’re not going to respectfully put up with the fact that you’ve [white people] been committing very intentional ethnic cleansing of people of color worldwide…. You’re afraid that there’s this race war that’s coming, and you’re out here shooting up Muslims in New Zealand, using horrible acts of religious, ethnic, and political terrorism, because you think we’re out here to attack you. All of those things that have happened, all of the racial slurs, all of the very intentional laws put in place—what if we upped the ante and threw that s–t right back at you? [“The Muslims Wage Punk-Rock War on White Supremacy with Genuine Humor and Rage,” IndyWeek, March 27, 2019: https://indyweek.com/music/features/on-their-new-album-the-muslims-wage-punk-rock-war-on-white-supremacy/ ]
And then a little later in the interview:
That new future [we fight for] is one where [white] supremacy has been thoroughly eradicated and destroyed, based on so many people taking different types of effort. It will require organizing, it will require new people in office, it’s going to require people reclaiming land, reclaiming their indigenous or cultural practices. It’s going to require music and art really helping to contribute to this narrative…. It looks like a world where white supremacy is actually f–king named, and people are attacking it for being the cultural and societal cancer that it is…. That’s what the f–k we’re raging about with the beginning of a new future and narrative.
QADR’s political praxis and goals could not be clearer, and it is a praxis and program that is not limited to simply a few of the more extreme and unhinged elements of the far Left.
Just listen to the current crop of Democrat presidential candidates, including most recently the supposedly “moderate” and probable candidate, Joe Biden, who spent one recent public appearance apologizing for his “whiteness” and condemning “white man’s culture” and demanding that America “change the culture” that “dates back centuries and allows pervasive violence against women….It’s an English jurisprudential culture, a white man’s culture. It’s got to change.” [“Biden condemns ‘white man’s culture’ as he laments role in Anita Hill hearings,” The Guardian, March 26, 2019: www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/26/joe-biden-anita-hill-hearings-race-gender] Or, watch any of the pundits and program hosts nightly on CNN or MSNBC, and increasingly on NBC, ABC, and CBS; or, just read any issue of The New York Times (the supposed “newspaper of record”) or The Washington Post — any day. The message is nearly identical.
This present state of affairs did not happen overnight. It took years — decades — to reach the boiling cauldron of ideological hysteria we now encounter. It required the control of Hollywood and our entertainment industry, a process that actually began in the 1930s and 1940s and became truly visible for the first time during the “Red Scare” of the late 1940s and 1950s and the infamous “Hollywood Ten” and “Blacklist” episodes, and the accusations of serious Communist infiltration into our film industry. Today Hollywood celebrates those leftist directors and actors, even producing recently a slick and adulatory cinematic salute to Communist movie director Donald Trumbo [Trumbo, 2015: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trumbo_(2015_film) ].
And it also took decades of educational indoctrination, some of it almost by stealth and largely unnoticed by most citizens…but there just the same.
Since I studied history in graduate school at the University of Virginia four decades ago, I’ve kept a copy of the course offerings of that department. A few days ago I searched the offerings in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The comparison was both fascinating — and revealing. It seemed that of the several hundred courses listed, every other one centered on race or gender and the implicit “liberation from white privilege” of the impressionable minds of college students, whose parents have to fork over tens of thousands of dollars a year for what, in effect, is most assuredly indoctrination.
Let me give just a few examples [cf. https://history.unc.edu/courses/]:
HIST 137. Muhammad to Malcolm X: Islam, Politics, Race, and Gender. 3 Credits.
This course provides an introduction to the history of the Islamic world from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to the present day. It seeks to expose students to key themes, individuals, and movements that have represented Islamic thought and practice, and enable students to engage directly with intra-Islamic debates.
HIST 202. Borders and Crossings. 3 Credits.
This course will examine how collective identities have been created, codified, and enforced; and will explore possibilities for building bridges between groups in order to resolve conflicts.
HIST 259. Towards Emancipation? Women in Modern Europe. 3 Credits.
This course examines and compares the situation of women in politics, the work force, society and family from the French Revolution to the new women’s movement in the 1970s with a focus on Britain, France and Germany. One major theme is the history of the struggle for women’s emancipation.
HIST 331. Sex, Religion, and Violence: Revolutionary Thought in Modern South Asia. 3 Credits.
Which of the following would you consider potentially political issues: celibacy; semen retention; body-building; depiction of gods/goddesses; or bomb making? Well, they all are. This course examines debates over sex, religion, and violence that constituted a key part of revolutionary thought and anti-colonial struggles in modern South Asia.
HIST 348. Population Transfers, Migration, and Displacement in Europe from the 19th to the 21st Century. 3 Credits.
By looking at case studies from the 19th to the 21st century, this seminar will help contribute to a better understanding of the current migrant crises in Europe. This course will deal with factors for migration/forced migration, possible motivations, migration experiences, as well as consequences for the migrants and the communities where they have ended up.
HIST 361. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Histories in the United States. 3 Credits.
This course investigates the history of people who might today be defined as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) in the United States. Key themes will include identity formation, culture, politics, medical knowledge, discrimination, and community.
HIST 236. Sex and American History. 3 Credits.
Does sex have a history? This course argues that it does. Exploring American history from the earliest encounters of Indians, Europeans, and Africans through the aftermath of the sexual revolution, we will consider diverse perspectives, important dynamics of change, and surprising ways in which the past informs our present–and ourselves.
HIST 475. Feminist Movements in the United States since 1945. 3 Credits.
This course will examine the unprecedented surge of feminist thought and activism in the postwar United States. Course materials and discussions will trace feminists’ varied conceptions of empowered womanhood and their expectations of the state, society at large, and each other. Honors version available.
HIST 514. Monuments and Memory. 3 Credits.
Explores the role of monuments in the formation of cultural memory and identity, both nationally and globally. Topics include the construction of identities in and through public spaces, commemoration of both singular individuals and ordinary citizens, and the appearance of new types of post-traumatic monuments in the 20th century.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Of course, this is not to say that the subject matter is not worthy of study or should not be examined. But what impresses is the heavy emphasis on race and gender studies, and the employment of “critical race” and “feminist gender” theory as the media for the study of history…and, thus, for the very probable indoctrination of students, not only at UNC, but at almost all of our nation’s colleges and universities, certainly the public ones.
And what is evident in the UNC Department of History is equally true in other faculties.
Should it be any wonder, then, that presently in North Carolina (and in most other Southern states) there is an effort underway to remove monuments to Confederate veterans and historical figures associated with the Confederacy — identified as “racist” and artifacts of “white supremacy” — and that those efforts are centered on university campuses, in academic departments, and in towns and cities with university presences, and that that influence is increasingly felt in all of our society?
Also, note the course offering on “Monuments and Memory.”
But it is not only Confederate monuments; indeed, they are but a first step. There is a deeper issue, something that our political elites, especially establishment conservatives who would very much like to see such controversy just go away, seem unwilling to recognize.
That iconoclastic campaign is part and parcel of a far larger and all-encompassing, multifaceted effort to destroy what folks like QADR—and most Democrat candidates for president — claim is “white supremacy.” The attack on Confederate monuments fits exactly into this template and into the campaign against Western heritage and civilization — into the — as QADR calls it — “new future….where [white] supremacy has been thoroughly eradicated and destroyed, based on so many people taking different types of effort…. and people are attacking it for being the cultural and societal cancer that it is….”
The effort to remove those monuments, most notably the toppling of the “Silent Sam” monument on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last August — the monument memorializing the school’s volunteers who went off to war in the 1860s to defend their state against invasion — cannot be separated from the much broader war against the West. And the attempts by some pusillanimous “conservatives” to do so are foolhardy, futile efforts to avoid the inevitable. For the social justice warriors have no intention of stopping with Confederate monuments.
Consider two very recent instances at two nationally-known universities.
First, at George Washington University in Washington, DC, students are demanding that the college mascot, the “Colonials,” be changed, “arguing the nickname may ‘discourage’ students, due to not being ‘inclusive’. Students suggest changing the mascot to a ‘hippo’ or ‘riverhorse’ instead…. as the mascot might make them think about oppression and the hatred of a different race.” [“Students Demand George Washington University Change ‘Colonials’ Mascot,” February 14, 2019: www.breitbart.com/tech/2019/02/14/students-demand-george-washington-university-change-colonials-mascot/ ] And at Hofstra University in New York, radicalized students are, “… calling for the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson from campus near New York City because they say the third American president represents racism and slavery. Students participated Friday in the second annual ‘Jefferson Has Gotta Go!’ event over the statue that has been subject to protests and acts of vandalism in the past, with some previously defacing it with ‘DECOLONIZE’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ slogans.A petition last year was launched urging to move the Founding Father’s statue to a museum with proper context rather than display it ‘on a college campus, especially not in front of a hub of student life’.” [“Thomas Jefferson statue must go, some Hofstra University students say,” March 30, 2019: www.foxnews.com/us/students-urge-hofstra-university-to-remove-thomas-jefferson-statue-over-racism ]
Sound familiar? That is exactly what the University of North Carolina system Board of Governors originally proposed to do with the “Silent Sam” monument — put it in a museum, and, indeed, they may yet try to do that later this May. They postponed their original decision on the fate of the monument from March 15 to the end of May 2019 (after most students will have left for summer break), just perhaps to avoid the kind of mob action that was witnessed back on August 20, 2018, when the monument was torn down by demonstrators, composed both of students and local social justice fanatics.
Of course, the administrators of Hofstra do not have a state law that requires them to keep the Jefferson statue on campus; North Carolina does have such a law, the 2015 Monuments Protection Law [G.S. 100-2.1. “Protection of monuments, memorials, and works of art”], which demands that a monument on public property — which the campus of the University of North Carolina certainly is — if taken down, must be put back up. Only physical problems with the monument itself which might endanger the public or major road construction are exceptions, and, then, in those rare cases, the monument must be put back in the same or closest location proximate to the original site and “in the same jurisdiction.” Moreover, placement in a museum is strictly prohibited.
In May the Board of Governors of UNC will have a major decision to make. As one board member supposedly said recently, “we are in between a rock and a hard place, between the anger of those students and faculty, and the 2015 law which the Sons of Confederate Veterans threatens to use to sue us and the university.”
No sir: you are not between “the law and the university.” We live in a society of laws, laws enacted by the elected representatives of the citizens of this state, and those laws apply to you and the university. You have but one choice to make: follow the law and put the “Silent Sam” monument back in its place. If you accede to the demands of the revolutionary mob — just one step in what they call their “long march” through our institutions and our history—you will have enabled them and made their continued success possible.
Let me repeat what a local social justice warrior wrote as a comment to an essay I published on March 8 at Reckonin.com: “The removal of the monuments will continue, both thru legal and extra legal means. The protests the other night against you are simply the continuation of the long struggle and march forward against the forces of division and barbarism. Expect more of them. Your time is over. Ours is just beginning.” [see the published essay, March 8: www.reckonin.com/boyd-cathey/what-happened-at-confederate-flag-day-2019 ]
It could not be more clear or the divisions more sharp than that. For the Board of Governors, then, as well as for all the other temporizing establishment political leaders (who wish to avoid addressing the issues involved), the question is this: will you make a stand for what is left of our cultural inheritance and our civilization?
(A version of this essay appeared at: https://boydcatheyreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/2019/03/march-30-2019-my-corner-by-boydcathey.html)
(NOTE: The North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans anticipates initiating legal action regarding the illegal actions taken associated with “Silent Sam” concurrent with the decision of the Board of Governors. Tax exempt contributions to the Division’s heritage defense fund may be made by accessing the North Carolina SCV Web page, and following the donation directions: www.ncscv.org/]