Thursday, June 27, 2019

The War on History Intensifies

Friends, you might think that deceased Hispanic priests would be given a pass by the PC crowd, as it trolls through our collective history to find people to malign and declare unfit for commemoration.  But no -- you'd be wrong.  Now the Franciscan friars who built California's missions are on the chopping block, and it's UC Santa Cruz that's taking the latest leap into Orwellian insanity.  Check out my latest article, which focuses on the removal of the El Camino Real Bell from the campus at Santa Cruz.  Needless to say, I'm not amused!

Even Hispanic Heritage Isn't Safe from PC Extremists

Friday, June 21st, marked an important milestone for the University of California at Santa Cruz. For decades, the school has been in contention for the coveted title of “looniest left-wing campus in America.” Now, its seat on that ivory throne is almost assured.

That is because UC Santa Cruz made the extraordinary decision to remove a monument known as the “El Camino Real Bell.” Residents of, and visitors to, California will be familiar with the string of 21 missions built by mostly Spanish Franciscan friars in the state in the 18th century. The bell was placed in Santa Cruz in 1906 as part of an effort to commemorate the role played by these missionaries in the creation of the diverse culture of California, which amalgamates Native American, Hispanic, “Anglo,” and other traditions. 
One would think that today, as California emerges as arguably the most Hispanic state in the nation, UC Santa Cruz would want to retain one of the few early nods to that Hispanic heritage that the state made during one of its most racist, white-dominated phases. But no — the bell has been deemed racist in itself, as so it has to go.

How can a bell be racist, you ask? Whom does its cadence offend?

The answer is that Native American activists view the Franciscan missionaries as oppressors of their ancestors. The missionaries brought Catholic Christianity, plus Western medicine, technology, agriculture, commerce, and education, to California, yes, but they also brought slavery and death to some. The legacy of the Catholic Church in Spanish America is indeed a checkered one, replete with innumerable instances of inhumanity. But it is also a fact that Catholic missionaries were among the very few voices in the New World calling for better treatment for Native Americans and African and African-American slaves. To condemn the Catholic Church and all its missionaries as “racist” makes about as much sense as dismissing all white people as “racist” — a mental leap which presumably these Native American social justice warriors would be equally comfortable making.

In the meantime, the victims of this latest example of historical erasure are not long-dead clerics, but California's massive population of Hispanics. They are undeniably a major part of their state's present and future, but all too often their role in California's past can be obscured by persistent racism and the biases of the historical record. To boot the Franciscan missionaries — some of the most educated and humane of California's early settlers — out of the state's pantheon of heroes adds insult to injury, therefore.

The same intolerant activists who pressed for the removal of the bell are now calling for its destruction — a wanton act of historical vandalism (capping numerous acts of actual vandalism against the bell). What is next? The bulldozing of the missions? After all, their mere existence causes angst in the turbulent psyches of social justice warriors. Why not turn these monuments to early California into reeducation camps, therefore, and kill two birds with one stone?

The fate of UC Santa Cruz's bell has particular resonance now for two reasons. First, efforts are accelerating across the nation to whitewash our history and our popular culture of any and all elements offensive to liberals. The recent removal of statues of Kate Smith proved that not even feminist icons are safe from the purity police. The obliteration of the El Camino Real Bell proves that Hispanics are similarly imperiled.

The other reason why this story ought to attract our attention is that America may soon have its first Native American President: Chief Elizabeth Warren of the Massachusetts “Wannabe” tribe. Chief Warren, affectionately known as “Pocahontas” in some circles, has already declared that her fellow Indians should be “part of the conversation” regarding reparations. She is thus sending a signal that the strongest possible measures should be taken to right the wrongs — real and imagined — done to Native Americans. We can only assume that few historical markers will survive the draconian purge that she will unleash.

Now is the time for the American people to stand up and say, “Enough!” If we do not stop this assault on our common heritage, we may find that the only shreds of history left are a delusional leftist pantomime of “inclusion” for the few, and permanent deletion for the many. 

I, for one, will not go quietly.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears weekly on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480.

And here it is in the Daily Caller: 


  1. Unfort. I am not sure if we can stop this whitewashing of history, Dr. Waddy. Why not tell the whole story-Instead of taking the statue down how about putting up a plaque or something like that and tell the whole truth? I honestly think that these liberals don't care for the truth. I also think people in general are just too lazy to do any looking up on their gadgets--"history" is so easy to look up and affirm or deny nowadays. It is also easy and inexpensive to put a bar code on the plaque or the item so one can get the history of said item. I have visited so many parks and historic sites here in NY who have done so and which wants me to learn more. Again, people in general are just lazy and will follow what is told.

    Now, on the talk about Warren and Native Americans. I have a professor who teaches a Native American class and we have some heated discussions of this topic--he agrees with Warren (he is one the few who allow productive criticism in the classroom--I actually thinks he rather enjoys the back and forth with me; "Back up what your saying, Linda!"--happy to say he is he one of three professors who supported/approved my summer internship at a local museum). He likes to argue the indigenous were here before us "Americans" and how we have taken over their land. My point is one can not whitewash history, period. Like I told him, I personally find the whitewashing repugnant. I am afraid that this movement began a long time ago and was started in our school system, by politicians, and by those who push the progressive movement (which probably often relates to the education system and politicians) who push narratives and sadly, who do whitewash history as to not offend anyone. I feel bad for the younger generation in general, Dr. Waddy, as they have no idea what critical thinking is.

  2. Dr. Waddy and Linda: Here, I think, are the contemporary realities: The present day U.S. presents members of all groups previously suppressed, very substantial opportunities to join in a prosperous and redeeming economy and culture.Is its concern about the historical and painful journey to these advances creditable? Yes, but at what cost?

    The U.S. has made painful and principled admission of many of its wrongs. Show me another nation which has done the same, willingly. Perhaps France, perhaps the U.K. U.S. admission of its injustice started with 300,000 Union Army deaths in our Civil War, (together with how many deaths of southerners who despised the slave holders but who fought to keep the Yankee out of their homes). It continued with near Presidential (Eleanor Roosevelt) recognition of the tortuous resistance by gallant blacks of the yet continued material and political oppression of blacks.It was advanced by sincere,though belated by understandable ignorance of southern realities, effort to support southern Black courageous generation of resistance to third class citizenship. The result? Any expression of regret for the advances in nominal and political equality of all races was wideland suc h swoulcd hve y condemned. It may well have continued as such to the early 1960's,

  3. Dr. Waddy and Linda: Sorry for having rendered all after "The result?"in the little known language of Alpha Centauri. I meant to say: recognition of past oppression must be tempered by equal recognition of beneficial advances.

    I wonder, will Hispanics, being so numerous in CA, take up the cause of the Bell? They could make a difference.

    I tried to combat a similar situation at SUNY New Paltz during their successful effort to change the names of some dorms named after now nonPC Huguenots;I went to a very powerful politician but was told nothing could be done. New Paltz is hopelessly compromised by the far left; taxpayers be as insects. Perhaps, though, had this change been opposed by a group as influential as Hispanics are in CA, common sense might have been served; not many Huguenots around anymore.

  4. Superb comments, Linda and Jack! Linda, you're absolutely right that putting a monument in context does not require tearing it down. Adding to the historical record is entirely fair. Editing out the parts you don't like is borderline fascistic.

    I'm very glad to hear you have at least one professor who will let you speak you your mind. Of course, he has a point about Native Americans getting the short end of the stick, but what the PC crowd always ignores is the sins of people of color themselves. No culture is immune from greed, cruelty, or ignorance. No historical figure is without taint of imperfection. The Leftist creed is based on consistent inconsistency: they judge people they don't like -- and their antipathy can be based on either ideology OR demographic factors -- by a totally different standard than the one they apply to their own. Thus, at the very core of their worldview is personal hatred. There just is no higher principle for them than the demonization of, well, us. Sad, but true.

    Jack is right that our country has moved mountains to try to make life better for many of the people who were once oppressed. It has also created a society far freer and more equal than any of the supposedly idyllic societies -- Native American, African, etc. -- that it conquered or displaced. We Western people need not bow our heads in shame to ANYONE. We are the ones who came along to make everything better, after all.

    Will California Hispanics bestir themselves to save the bell? There's no sign of it in the articles I've read. Hispanic activists seem slavishly devoted to the Democratic Party and the Left, at this point in history. Granted, many Hispanics are Republicans, but they are, I suspect, the least Hispanic of Hispanics, i.e. the most assimilated. Be that as it may, most Hispanics are probably unaware that their own legacy is being devalued...because the mainstream media won't tell them.

    Jack, the politician who told you that nothing can be done is mostly wrong. Common sense conservatives can push back and shame the institutions that do this sort of thing...and sometimes they relent. The best way to win more victories is to win more elections, and to claw back as much political, cultural, and media-based power as we can from the left-leaning establishment.

  5. Dr. Waddy:An Elizabeth Warren in complete power (including a fully Dem Congress and a radicalized Supreme Court)? We are getting a preview in NY state. Cuomo doesn't always get his heart's desire, at least not yet but the pattern is clear:" You who oppose my very frankly affirmed continuing intention to end private gun ownership in my state may as well be noisome microbes to me. And like that ilk, you just don't belong here.""If you have objections to my 5000 year precedent breaking redefinition of marriage I spurn you". "If you oppose the conversion of our state taxpayer supported "university" into a network of Marxist reeducation camps, then 'go jump in duh crik', isn't that what you WNY hicks say?" "You think I should obey Federal immigration law? So, go sue me! If you are a taxpayer then you are privileged. So called 'Illegals' are not privileged so they get preference all around. Get it now? Should be obvious ; I don't care how many there are in NY who disagree with me, you are lowlifes and its my duty to protect the politically correct from your depradation.Why don't you move to flyover country, why dontcha."

    That's exactly the attitude that a triumphant Warren would have and that would be manifested in her support for not just expensive but directly confiscatory "reparations" for all "politically correct" "victims". John Doe, you are assessed 50% of your yearly income to be sent to Mr. and Mrs. ------ at ------, in deserved recompense for your reprehensible prosperity at their direct historical and contemporary disadvantage. Should you resist, expect full confiscation. Sincerely, E. Warren President

  6. Dr. Waddy: "Consistent inconsistency"; well said. Carried to its extreme, leftist outrage must needs embrace preColombian cultures in North America, which I know to be documented (eg. the preIroquois Lamokas in now NY state.) What of their concerns?

    Perhaps the putative descendants of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of England ought to demand of succeeding Norman, Plantagenet, Tudor, Stewart, Hanoverian, Saxe-Coburg, and Windsor houses some material compensation?

  7. Jack, I assume most of Warren's promises are mere fluff and would be quickly forgotten were she to become President. The more frightening prospect, of course, is that she means all that she says!

    You're right that the chain of grievance is never-ending. Surely I, as a Briton, deserve compensation from the Romans, right? Plus, I'm afflicted with "toxic masculinity"! I expect my therapy to be state-funded...

  8. Dr. Waddy: To be sure, the Etruscan predecessors of the Romans hold traceably ultimate blame, freeing Caesar and Claudius from responsibility for introducing into Brittania a civilization Churchill considered the most advanced until the mid 19th century.What presumptuous nonsense the left advances! Most of them know nothing of history.They only "feel" something (?!)