Geraldo Rivera, as one of few Fox News liberals, does not fit the mold for opposing political correctness. However, when his other employer — Yale University — recently decided to remove a white supremacist’s name from one of its colleges, he decided enough was enough.
Rivera served as an associate fellow of the college, and he took exception to the name change, not because of a sudden sympathy for white supremacy, but because, he felt, political correctness had grown to such an absurd point that it risked exonerating the U.S. from its less-than-innocent past.
In a Twitter tirade, Geraldo provided additional reasoning behind the decision, saying it was an honor to have held the position, but “intolerant insistence on political correctness is lame.”
“Slavery was abhorrent sin,” Rivera explained, but if one were to simply change the name, “Will Yale students now petition to change the name of the USA capital? Washington was a slave holder as was Jefferson.”
Not content to stop there, however, Geraldo added that judging a 200-year-old early 19th Century historic figure by standards and mores of the 21st Century “is more Orwellian than inspired.”
The reference here, of course, being to George Orwell, author of 1984, a classic novel that depicts a disturbing nanny state.
While John Calhoun’s days were “repugnant,” Rivera said, the name change “would shock JFK who named John C. Calhoun 1 of 5 ‘greatest’ all-time senators in 1957.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 14, 2017
The decision by Geraldo has picked up a great deal of support and criticism from followers on social media, seemingly divided along partisan lines with Red Alert Politics, a conservative site, blaring, “Geraldo Rivera Quits Yale Post, Blaming ‘Political Correctness,'” and The Hill, a more left-leaning site, playing up the slavery connection, stating “Geraldo Rivera Quits Position After Yale Removes Slavery Supporter’s Name.”
Regardless of which side you view the decision from, Geraldo was not the first to argue for keeping the Calhoun name. In fact, the last highest profile person to do so publicly was Yale President Peter Salovey, who said in comments reported here by Mediaite, “Removing Calhoun’s name obscures the legacy of slavery rather than addressing it.”
Salovey, prior to making the University making the decision, said the U.S. “continues to refuse to face its own history of slavery and racism.”
“Yale is part of this history, as exemplified by the decision to recognize an ardent defender of slavery by naming a college for him. Erasing Calhoun’s name from a much-beloved residential college risks masking this past, downplaying the lasting effects of slavery, and substituting a false and misleading narrative, albeit one that might allow us to feel complacent or, even, self-congratulatory.”
Furthermore, to retain the name would have been to “learn anew and confront one of the most disturbing aspects of Yale’s and our nation’s past.”
To conclude, the university president said he believed it was “our obligation as an educational institution” to keep the name.
Those comments were made in 2016, but ultimately the university decided on the shift, explaining the college will now be named for Grace Murray Hopper.
“The university’s board of trustees — the Yale Corporation — and I made this decision at our most recent meeting,” Salovey said.
While the decision was one not to be taken lightly, he continued, “John C. Calhoun’s legacy as a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately promoted slavery as a ‘positive good’ fundamentally conflicts with Yale’s mission and values.”
Geraldo floats show to show on FoxNews critical of Trump’s immigration policies forgetting “Americans First”. How does DJT call him friend? pic.twitter.com/fFecV938Zy
— John T Dolan (@JohnTDolan) February 11, 2017
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