November 20, 2015

"Woodrow Wilson was extremely racist — even by the standards of his time."

Vox explains, supporting the Princeton students who are protesting the use of Wilson's name on various programs and buildings around the university.
Easily the worst part of Wilson's record as president was his overseeing of the resegregation of multiple agencies of the federal government, which had been surprisingly integrated as a result of Reconstruction decades earlier....

Outright dismissals were also common. Upon taking office, Wilson himself fired 15 out of 17 black supervisors in the federal service and replaced them with white people....

In 1914, a group of black professionals led by newspaper editor and Harvard alumnus Monroe Trotter met with Wilson to protest the segregation. Wilson informed Trotter, "Segregation is not humiliating, but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen."
Much more at the link.

57 comments:

Once written, twice... said...

Ann, are you worried you might be targeted for protests?

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, are you worried you might be targeted for protests?"

No.

Michael K said...

OMG! Who had desegregated the Civil Service ?

Could it be those "racist" Republicans ?

Nah.

Michael K said...

Moderation is annoying. Let me know when it stops.

chuck said...

I agree with the students on this, I've suggested the same myself. They should also ask Princeton for reparations and demand that Woodrow Wilson Fellows donate a their income to the cause.

traditionalguy said...

They can dig up Wilson's bones and burn each one of them on national TV for all I care, but they are pretending to win a 100 year old struggle 50 years after better men than them won it facing real opposition.

They need a purpose and cannot find one that has not already been done.

rcocean said...

Wilson was a typical Southern of the his time. His father owned slaves and he was 9 when the Civil war ended. He didn't move North permanently until he was 30.

What's really interesting is that Wilson went from a University President to NJ Governor to US President in only 2 years!

Sebastian said...

So, Prog protesters, does WW's racism give you the slightest bit of pause about his advocacy of the administrative state or his disparagement of the Constitution? Does the similarity between his and your own opposition to free speech give you pause?

Lance said...

Wilson informed Trotter, "Segregation is not humiliating, but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen."

I believe the kids today call this a "safe space".

Skeptical Voter said...

Crikey as my Brit friends would say. I'm absolutely gobsmacked by the fact that a few of today's college students actually know what happened 100 years ago. For most of this generation of college yo yo's, history started on the day they were born.

pm317 said...

Race mongering in the day and age of Obama.

Jupiter said...

It might be interesting to read something about Wilson's views, if it were at least partially factual. Not Vox, though.

Achilles said...

Progressives have always been racist and sexist. They still are the primary sources of racism and sexism. Dividing people and causing hatred has been their plan for decades.

TWW said...

You have to give the Liberals this: they are quick learners. Ninety eight years to get it right.

tds said...

if they plan to eliminate all rasists, they may soon run out of Democratic presidents

chickelit said...

Maybe put one of these in every protestor's stocking for Christmas. That's what they really want.

madAsHell said...

Easily the worst part of Wilson's record as president was his overseeing of the resegregation of multiple agencies of the federal government

He was just creating "special spaces" for blacks.

YoungHegelian said...

I'm sorry, just how stupid does someone have to be that they buy hook, line & sinker into the idea that American racism existed solely on the Right? I mean, that one ranks up there in historical idiocy with the idea that the Marxist Left gave a tinker's damn about gay rights.

Rather than discuss just how awful our ancestors were, why don't the protesters discuss the much more interesting topic of how can it fruitful to apply contemporary moral mores to history? What does it say about societal mores that there can be such tectonic shifts in such a short period of time, as, for example, in the tolerance of homosexual behavior?

It really makes me worry for our future that our Ivy League Universities are cranking out such nitwits. It really does.

traditionalguy said...

The Tidewater Southern Aristocracy that made African slaves sold by the British Empire useful for a financial bonanza is dead and gone. Wilson was one of its last iterations. And good riddance to them all. They were worthless, perverted people that wanted to recreate an English class system here. They despised white Americans and abused them too.

Oddly to our way of seeing historical forces, the headquarters of the Slave import Industry was among seafaring New England merchants in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware. New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. They seldom owned the slaves themselves any longer than it took to capture them, ship them, market them and finance the Industry.

The New England family fortunes before the Industrial Revolution were based on that Trade.

etienne said...

Can't these people just pay their $12.5k per semester, take the diploma and move on with their lives?

chickelit said...

Once written, twice... said...
Ann, are you worried you might be targeted for protests?

I guess you missed it when Crack Emcee barged in here and made similar demands a couple years ago. Meade's answer was to throw money at his blog. But even that didn't work.

James Pawlak said...

After all, he was a Democrat.

azbadger said...

Perhaps it is also time to bulldoze the FDR Memorial at the Tidal Basin, get rid of the FDR dime, and pressure Hunter College into changing the name of its public policy school. While not as blatant and open as Wilson, FDR was quite the racist. FDR (not Hitler) snubbed Jesse Owens. He segregated the White House, prohibiting white and black workers from intermingling. Without any voice of concern whatsoever, he appointed a former member of the KKK to the Supreme Court. He refused to de-segregate the military. He opposed anti-lynching legislation. He did little to nothing to help Jews before or during WWII. And, of course, FDR ordered the internment of Japanese-Americans.

Bay Area Guy said...

Umm, this is news?

Memo to Vox and other Left-wingers of 2015:

Until 1964, 50% of the DEMOCRATIC PARTY was part of the Jim Crow South. Wilson was a Virginian first, until he moved to New Jersey.

The North wasn't so pure either. To win elections, fabled FDR needed Southern votes, and won all Southern states as part of a quid pro quo - to not do anything about civil rights or enact ant-lynching laws or desegregate the military, etc, etc.

Do modern-day Democrats not know about the history of their own Democrat Party?

sinz52 said...

"resegregation of multiple agencies of the federal government, which had been surprisingly integrated as a result of..."

...the Radical Republicans.

Their story has largely been lost to today's generation of young people.

Leftists don't ever want to credit the GOP with anything.

And today's GOP has taken in a whole bunch of neo-Confederates who have pushed the bogus theory that Lincoln was a dictator, the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery, and Reconstruction was a terrible, no-good time in American history.

Actually, by today's standards, Reconstruction was a major step forward in justice.

Al said...

"Segregation is not humiliating, but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen."

Sounds like the Princeton protesters and Wilson are in agreement.

William said...

From what I understand, Wilson was some kind of constitutional law scholar. Can he still be cited or is he now the fruit of a poisoned tree?......You can argue that he was more racist than Taft or TR who ran against him in the 1912 election, but can't you also say that this is an argument against the sagacity of W.E. DuBois who supported him in that election. Are there any current black activists who show the same lack of sagacity?.....It wouldn't take much scholarship to discover many African leaders who treated members of minority tribes in their states with far more oppressive measures than anything employed by Wilson. It would, however, take considerable research to find, say, a single black Harvard law student who has acted in a meaningful way to ban the practice of slavery in Mauritania.

Titus said...

Woodrow Wilson Public Policy school is #2 behind The Kennedy School-natch.

The students in Princeton's public policy department are called Woody woos. Will this change too?

tits and muscles

Static Ping said...

Well, yeah, Woodrow was very racist. Duh.

I don't think it can be said better than traditionalguy.

Anonymous said...

"Segregation is not humiliating, but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen."

What exactly is the problem? This is what the leading Black activists say. I hardly feel like White writers are in a position to gainsay them.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't think that anyone should be surprised at Wilson's racism. He was a Democrat, and the Democrats, for better than two centuries now, have been the racist party. Prior to the Civil War, slavery was supported by both Southern Dems and Northern Dems. The Republican Party, of course, was to a great extent founded to abolish slavery. And, at the election of Lincoln, the Southern Dems left the Union, and all during the war, Northern Dems fought against it. While the Republicans were the ones enlisting, the Democrats were the ones engaging in draft riots. Then, after the war, after Reconstruction got shut down, Jim Crow and the KKK were used for the next century to keep Blacks in their place. And, yes, halfway through that, Wilson resegregated the federal govt. Even as late as 1964, a lot of the Dems were overt racists, many of them voting against the civil rights laws of that decade. And now? Still racists, just switching sides to keep the Black vote, as was so obvious in the actions of AG Holder and the rest of the Obama Administration.

As a note, when I went to work in the federal govt. in the mid-1970s, a lot of the senior employees that I dealt with had entered a segregated civil service. They would tell me which were the colored and which were the white bathrooms back then. That sort of thing. In particular, there was this one Black GS-13 I would pick up and drive to work whenever it snowed. It was weird, after having grown up out west where white/black racism never got established.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Maybe add some additional tags: Progressives, eugenics, racial differences, mongrel races.



rcocean said...

Yeah, the Democrats were the real racists back then, not the Repubs.

Yawn.

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
"Ann, are you worried you might be targeted for protests?"

No."

Sure.

eddie willers said...

Democrats are still the party of racists. As you knock down reasons for Affirmative Action, they will eventually come down to [in a whisper] "We're just trying to be fair since they aren't as good as us".

Lewis Wetzel said...

The words 'democrat' and 'progressive' do not appear in the article. The voxsplainer wants to make certain that democrats and progs are never associated with slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation, regardless of the historical truth that the Democrats have a long history of supporting slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation.
Perhaps one day Voxsplainers may accidentally discover that the first purpose of the Democrat party, from its founding in 1828, was to protect the institution of slavery from an abolitionist-leaning federal government.
If they do, they won't write about it.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

George Ferko: Perhaps it is also time to bulldoze the FDR Memorial at the Tidal Basin, get rid of the FDR dime, and pressure Hunter College into changing the name of its public policy school.

Speaking of dimes, how 'bout we just quit with this nickle-and-dime shinola about memory-holing this oppressive whitey and that oppressive whitey? White men contributed nothing. They had nothing to do with making this country what it is.

Well, unless they were "Hispanic". Or maybe Italian or Irish. Who, we all know, have only recently been socially-constructed into being white. (What's that you say? Your Italian or Irish great-grandmother says that's bullshit? What the hell do they know? Some deep-thinker at Harvard discovered this a few years ago, and every SJW worth his salt knows it's true.)

Whatever, it's God's own truth that guys with WASP-y ass names like "Wilson" have never been anything been a drain on the real Americans who built this country. Burn their books, burn down their monuments. Memory-hole the lot of 'em. It's what we must do to be true to our values. It's unAmerican to tolerate the stain of north-western European (especially English!) influence on this continent.

Ffs, people, it's 2015!

Gospace said...

Achilles said...
Progressives have always been racist and sexist. They still are the primary sources of racism and sexism. Dividing people and causing hatred has been their plan for decades.

Goes right along with what I say about the real philosophical difference between the two major parties.

The Democrats are, and have always been, the party of group rights.
The Republicans are, and have always been, the party of individual rights.

Group rights and individual rights cannot coexist within a system. Judging everyone as an individual will almost always bring about a statistical disparity between outcomes when measured by group identification. Doesn't seem to bother the race counters that in 2011 78% of NBA players were black, way out of proportion compared to the general population. But the same race counters get upset looking at UC Berkeley 36% Asian, or California Institute of Technology 39% Asian, way out of proportion compared to the general population. If it weren't for the fact that colleges all over the nation find legal ways to discriminate against Asians, their numbers in elite colleges and universities would be even higher. (numbers for college from http://www.collegexpress.com/lists/list/colleges-with-the-highest-percentage-of-asian-students/2361/ )

Very few pizza places are owned by Asians. Very few Chinese restaurants by Greeks. Very few wineries by Asians. Not as a result of group discrimination, but by large numbers of individual choices.

From my time in the Navy, whites were overrepresented in engineering fields such a boiler technician and electrician. That disparity exists in civilian life. Boiler operators/stationary engineers, marine engineers, electricians, plumbers, welders, and the like are beyond their percentages in the general population.

Don't know what percentage of linemen aren't white. but a search uncovered this http://www.ocala.com/article/20081214/ARTICLES/812140990, the first retirement of a black linemen from Ocala Electric Utility. In the last 20 years, I haven't personally seen a non-white (or female) linemen or high voltage electrician of any kind. They must exist, but they're few and far between. Again, large numbers of personal choices lead to disparity in numbers.

If group membership were counted in each and every occupation, and numbers had to balance, I sincerely doubt that any workplace would be happy. But that's the way race counters want it to be. Of course, no one would be buying NBA tickets.

Dan in Philly said...

Oy. Some day we will get over our obsession with "race."

Anonymous said...

By all means, dear students, fight against the man, even though he's nearing a century in the grave and his policies that you detest were overturned half a century ago. Meanwhile, please excuse us if we turn our attention away from your focus on past harms that no longer are to focus on living men who mean us harm in the present and future.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Daniel Richwine said...
Oy. Some day we will get over our obsession with "race."
--
It would go a long towards healing this county's racial divide if we elected a Black president!
I only hope Hillary does for relations between the sexes what Obama has done for relations between Blacks and whites.

ken in tx said...

I am not obsessed by race. Race obtrudes into my life from time to time unwelcomed. Most of the time I am able to not think about it at all.

rcommal said...

Vox: The voice of folks whose POV dates from their birth date minus three.

Bob Loblaw said...



We're talking progressives here, so pretty much the sky's the limit.

Grackle said...

scrub one, scrub all. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted people judged on individual merit. Clearly an Uncle Tom.

lgv said...

Bush was wrong.

Jon Burack said...

Princeton has put the right in a bind here by caving in to a condemnation of one of the right's already hated figures (BLM and Glen Beck dancing cheek to cheek). Vox apparently will choose condemnation and witch-hunt obliteration of the past over any desire to defend a progressive icon. Far from demonstrating even-handed adherence to principle, however, this demonstrates how the current anti-intellectual tide on campuses carries all before it for the left.

Just as with the opposition to Calhoun at Yale, so this desire to condemn Wilson too is a misuse of history that ought to concern historians greatly. If any single academic group ought to be out front in opposition to all this intolerance, it is professional historians. Calhoun and Wilson cannot either of them be comprehended or even judged by a naive presentism, which is what all this huffing and puffing is: "Our age is so perfect in enlightenment, all of the past was so benighted." Both Wilson and Calhoun were extremely intelligent and complex, racist to the core, yes, but even their racism cannot be judged without it first being understood. Oh, I realize names on buildings are not the same as names in a history text. The names on buildings can be removed without it being a kind of historical thinking exercise. However, if you do this, as others have shown, nearly every name must be removed everywhere - FDR, Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Earl Warren, etc. In fact, what is going on here is every bit as offensive as Stalin's later removal of Trotsky from a photo of Lenin addressing the crowd. The aim is not merely ceremonial, it is to promote a way of historical understanding. One that is deeply inimical to history as a disciplined way of thought.

Jon Burack said...

Along with my earlier post, another point on all this has to do with the "cultural competency training" demanded by the black student group and being considered by the administration. It is not relevant whether or not this training is mandatory. What is relevant is that this training will almost certainly be at odds with history as an academic discipline. Leave Calhoun or Wilson aside. Does anyone think such "cultural competency training" will allow for even an even-handed consideration of the complicated way Abraham Lincoln's thinking on race evolved or the contexts in which he expressed his ideas on it. I have no faith whatsoever that any such discussion will be tolerated. The aim will be history as propaganda. Plain and simple. It is a disgrace for universities to allow such degraded forms of discourse to get any consideration, especially consideration as mandatory.

Bay Area Guy said...

It will become real surprising to the 20-something year old investigative journalists at Vox when they realize Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F Kennedy were all racists too. Jimmy Carter? He was governor of segregated Georgia and buds with Governor George Wallace fer chrisakes. All were Democrats - all were racists.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Jon Burack @11/21/15, 7:39 AM & 7:54 AM:

Great posts, Jon. It's extremely disturbing that scholars, and scholars at the most distinguished universities, have been acquiescing so meekly, for so long, in this degradation of intellectual (and civic) life.

Bob Ellison said...

Hillsdale College, widely known as a right-wing crazy house, "In its 1844 Charter, ...became the first American college to prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, or religion."

Gahrie said...

Does anyone think such "cultural competency training" will allow for even an even-handed consideration of the complicated way Abraham Lincoln's thinking on race evolved

I teach 11th grade U.S. History at a suburban high school. Every year I have them read quotes of Lincoln's from the Lincoln-Douglas debates. The kids are literally speechless. They don't know how to process his words with the icon that that history has created. It is a very powerful lesson.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Robert Browning wrote of a similar situation in The Ring and the Book:

"Then Stephen, Pope and seventh of the name,
"Cried out, in synod as he sat in state,
"While choler quivered on his brow and beard,
"'Come into court, Formosus, thou lost wretch,
"That claimedst to be late the Pope as I ! '
"And at the word, the great door of the church
"Flew wide, and in they brought Formosus' self,
"The body of him, dead, even as embalmed
" And buried duly in the Vatican
"Eight months before, exhumed thus for the nonce.
"They set it, that dead body of a Pope,
"Clothed in pontific vesture now again,
"Upright on Peter's chair as if alive.
"And Stephen, springing up, cried furiously
"'Bishop of Porto, wherefore didst presume
"'To leave that see and take this Roman see,
"'Exchange the lesser for the greater see,
"' — A thing against the canons of the Church?'
"Then one, (a Deacon who, observing forms, 50
" Was placed by Stephen to repel the charge,
"Be advocate and mouthpiece of the corpse)
"'Spoke as he dared, se.t stammeringly forth
"With white lips and dry tongue, — as but a youth,
"For frightful was the corpse-face to behold,
"'How nowise lacked there precedent for this.
But when, for his last precedent of all,
"'Emboldened by the Spirit, out he blurts
"'And, Holy Father, didst not thou thyself
"'Vacate the lesser for the greater see,
"'Half a year since change Arago for Rome?'
"' — Ye have the sin's defence now, synod mine!'
"Shrieks Stephen in a beastly froth of rage:
"'Judge now betwixt him dead and me alive
"'Hath he intruded or do I pretend? 65
"'Judge, judge ! ' — breaks wavelike one whole foam of wrath.

Jon Burack said...

Gahiri

I don't know exactly how to process this of yours:

"I teach 11th grade U.S. History at a suburban high school. Every year I have them read quotes of Lincoln's from the Lincoln-Douglas debates. The kids are literally speechless. They don't know how to process his words with the icon that that history has created. It is a very powerful lesson."

I am guessing from your tone that you think the "quotes of Lincoln's" somehow explode the "icon" you say history has created of him by showing him saying such things as how blacks and whites differ in physical characteristics, and "PERHAPS" (which is how he put it) in other more important ways as well. If this is what you mean, I wonder how you think your students can possible understand what Lincoln was saying in these debates merely from his quotes alone. Do you explain who his audiences were, what their overall views of race where, what Lincoln's objectives as a candidate for Senate were, what Douglas, his opponent's views of race were, what the general attitudes of the times were, etc., etc.? Because if you do not, your students will not note the careful and subtle ways Lincoln, who was working through his own ideas about race, was already far ahead of his times in thinking it all out. They will fail to see how courageous he was in challenging Douglas's very rank and unthinking racism, and that of his audience, without alienating them as any politician would strive not to do. Perhaps your students think THEY are far ahead of their times in their enlightened views and, hence, even farther ahead of Lincoln. If so, I do not think you do they any favors if you play up to such hubris.

But perhaps I am not understanding your point. If so, I apologize, but this is the way it looks to me from what you wrote. Sam Wineburg has done very important work on precisely all this about Lincoln's views. I hope you look it up.

eddie willers said...

Vox: The voice of folks whose POV dates from their birth date minus three

Vox: 'My Weekly Reader' for Millennials.

RecChief said...

interesting to see the left turn on itself, kind of like watching a puppy chase its tail.

More importantly, with all the BS about cultural appropriation and anti-assimilation, minorities are self-segregating. hahahahahhahahahaha

Gahrie said...

I wonder how you think your students can possible understand what Lincoln was saying in these debates merely from his quotes alone.

My points to the kids are:

1) To resist the simplification of history. Generally History is a lot more complicated than you have been told.

2) That you cannot judge a historical person by today's standards. By today's standards, Lincoln was a rabid racist, by his own time's a radical abolitionist.

3) That you cannot judge a whole person's life from one incident or statement.

Most of the kid's walk out of the room still thinking of Lincoln as a great president.