Monday, May 19, 2014

Today Everything and Everyone is Racist -- Including Mark Twain?

Dear Friends,

There are a few things that make me absolutely ill these days -- one happens to be the use of ther terms "racist" and racism" when it is in fact their use is unwarranted and completely uncalled for.

Everything today is racist, and it makes me sick because true racists -- those narrow minded individuals out there who truly hate others because of the color of their skin, or because of their ethnic background -- are today getting a pass of sorts.

Yes, a pass, a ticket to go on doing what they are doing.
Why, because the term racist is being watered down to mean nothing at all.

Examples are everywhere.

Just recently young children were stopped from singing the song "YMCA" because some clown declared it racist, a boy who played the child's game "hangman" was called a racist, the grocery story was called racist because some jerk didn't like it's products, and yes, the boy who wore a t-shirt bearing an image of an American Flag was called racist because he did it on Cinco de Mayo.

Of course, the first Black Attorney General of the United States has called those in Congress who questioned him racist.

Yet, really they were only asking him hard questions about the various scandals that his Justice Department has been linked to and has clearly been involved in -- such as the Fast & Furious Scandal.

Of course all of the other Attorney Generals who were made to answer questions regarding things like White Water, Water Gate, or Iran Contra, all testified under hard questioning and they didn't scream racism.

But then again, in America these days, they might have been able to even though they were of European and Hispanic ancestry.

Today racism is revolutionary in that anything and everything can be called racism -- nothing is exempt from being called racist.  

Yes, including of course the critics of the President of the United States.

I content that because he is America's First Black President, a man whose election was said to have marked the end of racism in America, that he goes out of his way to label his critics "Racists" every chance he gets.

It's none stop! For example, in 2009, many of us didn't like the 800 Billion Dollar Stimulus Bill that was shoved through by President Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Because of our dislike of the way Washington DC was spending money, many of us joined together to rally against it. Yes, that is why the Tea Party protesters got together in the first place.

And immediately, yes, we were labeled racists with Liberals comparing us to the Ku Klux Klan and such hate groups.

When many in America protested about the Black Panther's standing outside of a Polling Place with clubs in an open attempt to intimidate voters, we were called racists.

Racists. true racist, must be laughing at the absurdity!

I content that the Liberal Left has rendered that word so meaningless these days that there is nothing to call someone who is truly, a for real, honest to goodness, card carrying racist!

What amazes me even more these days is all of the history that folks are now in the process of re-writing.

There was talk recently that our currency was going to get a make-over and that our famous figures such as President Andrew Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant, along with American  statesman Benjamin Franklin would be removed because they are now deemed racists.

Imagine the insanity! And no, don't think it's stopping soon!

Racist this and racist that, racist this and racist that, blah blah blah this and blah blah blah that, blah blah blah this and blah blah blah that, yes, after a while the term means nothing at all.

Yesterday, a man who has been cited as being America's Greatest Writer, Mark Twain was called a racist.

While America's great writers such as Hemingway and Falkner and many many others have praised Mark Twain for his gifts to America in the form of literature which captured the 1800s, today he is now touted as a racist.

First it started with school libraries saying they would not carry his classic works, but now it has even stopped a plan to name a cove in Lake Tahoe after Mark Twain.

Why? The plan is being scrapped after a tribe complained saying Mark Twain had racist views.

According to the Associated Press, a state of Nevada panel effectively killed the bid to name a cove in Lake Tahoe after Mark Twain -- citing opposition from a tribe that says he held racist views on Native Americans.

The Nevada State Board on Geographic Names this week voted to indefinitely table the request after hearing opposition from the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, whose ancestral homeland includes Lake Tahoe.

Supporters had sought to name a scenic cove on the lake's northeast shore for Samuel Clemens, Mark Twain being his pen name.

But Darrel Cruz, head of the tribe's cultural resource department, said Mark Twain was undeserving of the honor because of derogatory comments about the Washoe and other tribes in his writings.

Among other things, he cited Mark Twain's opposition to the naming of the lake as Tahoe, which is derived from the Washoe word "da ow" for lake.

Cruz also objected to a Twain quote about Lake Tahoe: "People say that Tahoe means 'Silver Lake' — 'Limpid Water' — 'Falling Leaf.' Bosh! It means grasshopper soup, the favorite dish of the digger tribe — and of the Piutes as well."

Cruz said Washoes dislike being referred to as the "digger tribe," a derogatory term applied to some tribes in the West who dug roots for food.

Other tribes ate grasshoppers.

"Samuel Clemens had racist views on the native people of this country and has captured those views in his literature," Cruz wrote in a letter to the board.

"Therefore, we cannot support the notion of giving a place name in Lake Tahoe to Samuel Clemens."

But James Hulse, history professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno, said it's irrelevant whether Twain's writings were insulting to Native Americans.

Hulse said, "The cove should be named for Twain because he praised Tahoe's beauty while visiting the lake in 1861-1862, and he became one of America's most beloved authors after assuming his pen name as a Nevada newspaper reporter around the same time."

Hulse also said, "In his early days, (Twain's) ironic-comic mode was insulting to everyone, including governors, legislators, mine bosses and journalistic colleagues. 

He learned and overcame his prejudices far better than most of his contemporaries and successors."

Thomas Quirk, an English professor emeritus at the University of Missouri and leading Twain scholar, said the author eventually overcame his racism against blacks.

But Quirk said he has found no evidence that he significantly changed his views on American Indians.

It's said that Twain did not embrace the idea of idolizing what James Fenimore Cooper called the "noble red man," Quirk said, and poked fun at Cooper for doing so.

"When it comes to African Americans, he was ahead of his time substantially," he said. "When it comes to Native Americans, his record is not very good. If he were alive today, he would sing a different tune."

For me, I don't care if the Nevada board initiated another the plan to name the cove for Samuel Clemens. Fact is, it appears that those supporting the naming of a cove don't have what it takes to fight for what is right!

Case and point, board member Robert Stewart said he dropped his support of it -- even though he learned about a later letter Twain wrote objecting to the treatment of tribes in Arizona and New Mexico.

It's the second time the bid to name the cove for Mark Twain has failed.

But none of that matter these days, after all, if one group calls Mark Twain a "racist," then of course it must be true -- he must be a racist, at least that's the way it is today.

Mark Twain was not a racist.

Like Benjamin Franklin who was responsible for started the first anti-slavery group in America -- when America was still British -- Mark Twain was an adamant supporter of the abolition of slavery and emancipation of slaves.

He actually went so far to say, "Lincoln's Proclamation ... not only set the black slaves free, but set the white man free also."

He argued that non-whites did not receive justice in the United States, once saying, "I have seen Chinamen abused and maltreated in all the mean, cowardly ways possible to the invention of a degraded nature ... but I never saw a Chinaman righted in a court of justice for wrongs thus done to him."

If Mark Twain was a racist, then why is it that he paid for at least one black person to attend Yale Law School and for another black person to attend a southern university to become a minister?

Did his early views on Native Americans change over the years? Yes it did.

Example, Mark Twain wrote in 1870:

"His heart is a cesspool of falsehood, of treachery, and of low and devilish instincts. With him, gratitude is an unknown emotion; and when one does him a kindness, it is safest to keep the face toward him, lest the reward be an arrow in the back. To accept of a favor from him is to assume a debt which you can never repay to his satisfaction, though you bankrupt yourself trying. The scum of the earth!"

Later, in his essay on "The Literary Offenses of Fenimore Cooper" offered this kinder view of Indians:

"No, other Indians would have noticed these things, but Cooper's Indians never notice anything. Cooper thinks they are marvelous creatures for noticing, but he was almost always in error about his Indians. There was seldom a sane one among them."

In his later travelogue "Following the Equator" (1897), Mark Twain wrote that in colonized lands all over the world, "savages" have always been wronged by "whites" in the most merciless ways, such as "robbery, humiliation, and slow, slow murder, through poverty and the white man's whiskey".

Twain concluded that "there are many humorous things in this world; among them the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.".

In an expression that captures his Indian experiences, he wrote, "So far as I am able to judge nothing has been left undone, either by man or Nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile."

Could he have changed his view on the American Indian?

We know for fact that he did not accept the Democrat Party's notion that women and blacks do not need right.

Yes, like many Republicans, he was a staunch supporter of women's rights and an active campaigner for women's suffrage.

His "Votes for Women" speech, in which he pressed for the granting of voting rights to women, is considered one of the most famous in history.

It's also said that Helen Keller benefited from Mark Twain's support, as she pursued her college education and publishing, despite her disabilities and financial limitations.

I believe that like many people, growing as a person Mark Twain changed many of the views which he held when he was younger.

Can that really take place? Well, if we are to believe the Democrat Party -- yes, it is something that surely can take place.

What am I talking about? Someone who supposedly changed.

The Democrat Party supported a man who has highways and bridges and schools and all sorts of things named after him -- that man was Democrat Senator Robert Byrd who passed away in 2010.

Robert Byrd served as a U.S. Representative from 1953 until 1959 and as a U.S. Senator from 1959 to 2010. All the while a Democrat.

Today, more than 50 buildings in West Virginia are named for either Robert Byrd or his wife. They are: 
  • Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center, Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center, Marshall University Graduate College in South Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Auditorium, National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center, Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Cancer Research Laboratory, West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies, Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Center for Pharmacy Education, University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health, Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Clinical Teaching Center, Charleston Area Medical Center Memorial Hospital in Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center, Princeton, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Health and Wellness Center, Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center Charleston Division, Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd High School, Clarksburg, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) Bridgeport Manufacturing Technology Center, Bridgeport, West Virginia.
  • RCBI Charleston Manufacturing Technology Center, South Charleston, West Virginia.
  • RCBI Huntington Manufacturing Technology Center, Huntington, West Virginia.
  • RCBI Rocket Center Manufacturing Technology Center, Rocket Center, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Institute for Composites Technology and Training Center, Bridgeport, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Library, Wheeling, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Library and Robert C. Byrd Learning Resource Center, University of Charleston in Beckley.
  • Robert C. Byrd Life Long Learning Center, Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Moorefield, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Life Long Learning Center, West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Metals Fabrication Center, Rocket Center, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center, Bridgeport, West Virginia (affiliated with Fairmont State University)
  • Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center, Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Regional Training Institute, Camp Dawson near Kingwood, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Science and Technology Center, Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Technology Center, Alderson–Broaddus College in Philippi, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd United Technical Center.
  • Robert C. Byrd Hilltop Office Complex, Rocket Center, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Industrial Park, Moorefield, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Community Center, Pine Grove, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Community Center, Sugar Grove, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Rooms, Office of the West Virginia Senate Minority Leader, West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse and Federal Building, Beckley, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse and Federal Building, Charleston, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Federal Correctional Institution, Hazelton, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Clinic, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Clinical Addition to Veteran's Hospital, Huntington, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Addition to the Lodge at Oglebay Park, Wheeling, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Conference Center (also known as the Robert C. Byrd Center for Hospitality and Tourism), Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Visitor Center, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
  • The Robert C. Byrd Bridge crossing the Ohio River between Huntington, West Virginia and Chesapeake, Ohio.Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System, Appalachian Development Highway System in West Virginia -- also know as the road to nowhere.
  • Robert C. Byrd Bridge, crosses the Ohio River between Huntington, West Virginia and Chesapeake, Ohio.
  • Robert C. Byrd Bridge, Ohio County, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Drive, West Virginia Routes 16 and 97 between Beckley and Sophia, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Expressway, United States Route 22 near Weirton, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Freeway, United States Route 119 between Williamson and Charleston, West Virginia (also known as Corridor L).
  • Robert C. Byrd Highway, United States Route 48 between Weston, West Virginia and the Virginia state line near Wardensville, West Virginia (also known as Corridor H).
  • Robert C. Byrd Interchange on Interstate 77.
  • Robert C. Byrd Interchange on United States Route 19, Birch River, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Transportation Center, Wheeling, West Virginia.
  • Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam, Ohio River in Gallipolis Ferry, West Virginia.
Yes, all of these places named after Robert Byrd.

All in spite of the fact that Democrat Rodert Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s and early 1950s, served as a Klan recruiter, a leader for a local Klan chapter, and refused to fight for the United States during World War II because he didn't want to fight for a country that recognized blacks as equal to whites.

Friends, that's a true racist!

But in spite of waging war on behalf of the Democrat Party on every piece of Civil Rights legislation that ever appeared before him including the 1964 Civil Rights Act which he personally filibustered against, he was given honorable recognition.

When Byrd joined with Democratic senators to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he personally filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act for 14 hours.

And yes, despite all of his efforts in that 83-day filibuster in the Senate, Republicans pushed that bill through Congress.

As for Robert Byrd, he also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

But in 2005, Byrd told The Washington Post that his membership in the Baptist church led to a change in his views.

Some speculate that Byrd, like other Southern and border-state Democrats, came to realize that he would have to temper "his blatantly segregationist views" and make himself appear less racist if he wanted to win reelection.

Because of his opposition to desegregation, Byrd was a member of the wing of the Democratic Party that opposed Desegregation and Civil Rights imposed by the federal government.

So while the Democrat Party says that despite having early career in the KKK as a committed segregationist and over racist, that Robert Byrd had changed his way of thinking and was rewarded for his change with recognition.

While a majority of Liberal Democrats and minorities say that Robert Byrd changed, they do not give Mark Twain the same forgiveness.

In 2011, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names rejected the request for Mark Twain's name to be attached to that cove in Lake Tahoe after the U.S. Forest Service said Mark Twain's influence on the Sierra Nevada lake was minimal and other historical figures were more deserving of the honor.

Supporters sought to honor him because there is no geographic feature in the state named for Samuel Clemens, or his pen name Mark Twain, whose book "Roughing It" really did put Nevada on the map.

Samuel Clemens became America's first celebrity author -- Mark Twain.

Roughing It put Nevada in context as a key player in America's Westward expansion, writing about the West in a way that affected both Mark Twain and those who read about his vision of it.

Mark Twain's writing affected the ways in which the nation perceived and mythologized the West.

Maybe it was his distinctive Western voice, or maybe it was the subject, but his telling of the tales lent credence to the stereotypes and truths about a West which was vanishing even as Mark Twain wrote about it.

Now the state of Nevada won't even name a cove after him.

And yes, that's pretty pathetic!

Tom Correa





     

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