We should be relieved that Mayor de Blasio won’t send tanks in to demolish monuments and other “symbols of hate” on city land overnight.
No! Instead, deciding which statues, plaques and names to purge won’t happen until after a 90-day review by “relevant experts and community leaders” who will “define the criteria and make recommendations,” de Blasio told The Post.
Everything’s “on the table,” de Blasio said — including the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle. The 13-foot-tall likeness atop a 60-foot pedestal is loved by Italian-Americans, ignored by millions of New Yorkers for whom a statue is a statue, and loathed by no one except terrorist-coddling Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and cadres of professional agitators.
It’s little comfort that de Blasio would have the final word on the “recommendations.” The mayor’s “social justice” bent leaves no doubt as to which “hateful” public likenesses and names his panel will be targeting: those of white European ancestry.
We may assume they won’t call for re-branding the Harlem Park or the Brownsville housing project named for Marcus Garvey — an early 20th century black-nationalist firebrand, compared with whom Malcolm X was a moderate Republican. Jamaica-born Garvey was an America-hating, convicted fraudster who championed racial segregation and the mass repatriation of black Americans to Liberia. Although he’s credited with raising consciousness about racism, his far-out views were rejected by nearly all major black leaders of his time.
Even “radical” historian W.E.B. Dubois called Garvey “without doubt, the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in America and in the world . . . either a lunatic or a traitor.” Former President Barack Obama declined to posthumously pardon Garvey despite a prolonged campaign by his descendants and apologists urging him to do so.
Just the guy whose spirit we want presiding over our parks and homes! We await the judgment of de Blasio’s esteemed panelists.
The mayor’s plan has already opened the door to a floodtide of grievances over ancient wrongs that need to be placed in context.
The mayor’s plan has already opened the door to a floodtide of grievances over ancient wrongs that need to be placed in context. An activist Jewish organization wants to banish Peter Stuyvesant’s likenesses and name from city schools, parks and streets. The Dutchman called Jews “deceitful” and “blasphemous.” Do those slurs, not exactly uncommon in the 17th century, outweigh the fact that Stuyvesant helped create New York City, often called “the greatest Jewish city in the world?”
Even with the best of intentions, the challenge of weighing an individual’s good and bad works leads to ridiculous hair-splitting. A Brooklyn Heights playground, Adam Yauch Park, is named for the Beastie Boys rocker who later decided to call himself MCA. The band’s first album was initially titled “Don’t Be a Faggot” and featured misogynist lyrics. Yauch later apologized repeatedly. But what will count more for the mayor’s sages — an artist’s early heinous words, or his more recent contrition?
In today’s super-heated “sensitivity” environment, it’s not a slippery slope, but a swift tailspin, into lunacy. Shouldn’t the Woolworth Building be renamed because it was at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., where four African-American students were denied service on Feb. 1, 1960? Maybe devout Christians will demand digging up Central Park’s Strawberry Fields memorial because John Lennon once proclaimed the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.”
Council member Robert Cornegy wants to name a Clinton Hill playground after slain rapper Biggie Smalls (Notorious B.I.G.) — a romanticizer of the “gangsta” culture that cost him his own life. Before he “reinvented East Coast rap,” he carried a gun and sold cocaine to neighborhood youths. He exploited violence and misogyny, reflected in songs from his first album titled “Machine Gun Fun,” “Ready to Die” and “Me and My Bitch.”
Will Cornegy now drop his campaign out of sensitivity to those harmed by drugs, sexism and guns?
It all depends on who ends up on de Blasio’s sacred panel. Perhaps he’ll tap state Assemblyman Charles Barron, who represents the 60th District in central Brooklyn. As a council member ten years ago, Barron, a former Black Panther, unsuccessfully tried to get a street named for Sonny Carson — a convicted kidnapper and self-described “anti-white” agitator who infamously led the racist and violent 1990 boycott of a Korean deli in Brooklyn.
Or maybe he’ll appoint Rev. Fred Lucas, a speaker at his Jan. 1, 2014, inaugural who termed the city of New York a “plantation.” De Blasio uttered not a word of polite disagreement while his predecessor Michael Bloomberg suffered in silence a few feet away.
Would de Blasio dare to include Mark-Viverito, who invited convicted FALN terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera to lead the Puerto Rican Day Parade? He was instrumental in the murders and maiming of dozens of New Yorkers in the 1970s. Although de Blasio wouldn’t pose for pictures with Lopez Rivera in the parade, he marched right behind him.
The lust to cleanse the town of images or honors that might give offense would leave us a town without heroes. Clearing the decks of them plays into the hands of those who have a darker purpose than merely soothing sensitivities — repudiating the city’s humane and magnificent legacy, and ultimately the legitimacy of the United States of America itself.
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