Saturday, December 27, 2003


I hadn't thought about this much among the debate about high school teams named the Indians or the Cherokees, or state flags with the stars and bars on them, but there's apparently a huge number of schools in the US -- mostly in the south -- named for prominent Confederates.

The white folks in the south seem to have grown up with -- well, southern education, and all that implies -- and refuse to yield any single inch on their tradition of slavery, Jim Crow, and a general disaffection for Americans of African descent and non-white Christians of any stripe.

The idea of a young black scholar walking around with a degree from Jefferson Davis High School just riles me.

But, perhaps... perhaps I am being a pigheaded politically correct liberal about this. Maybe we should embrace all of our mistakes as a nation, much as some educational philosophies now encourage the absence of grades and winners in schoolyard games.

So. Why not go whole-hog and rename some of our schools and public buildings for Americans who did us less than proudly. For instance, perhaps St. Patrick's Cathedral could be renamed the Paris Hilton Cathedral. Suppose we rename the US Military Academy at West Point the Benedict Arnold Military Academy. Maybe the Academy Award could be renamed the Ed Wood instead of the Oscar.

Or maybe we could rename a school for Osama bin Laden. Because, really, what's the difference between naming a school for one man who hated the United States and the freedom for which it stands or another? And, by the way, if you name a school for bin Laden, you have the added advantage of not having named your school for a loser like Stonewall Jackson or Robert E. Lee.