Apparently there is no statute of limitations on the sins of our forefathers.
California State University, Long Beach, associated students have succeeded in securing an administrative decision to move “The Forty-Niner Man” statute depicting a rugged looking bearded white guy sitting on a rock from a prominent spot to somewhere on campus where it won’t offend the sensibilities of snowflakes.
Prospector Pete – as the statute has been informally called – was trashed as a symbol of the Gold Rush that led to “the people of the Tongva Tribe (being) enslaved by the settlers to build missions in the greater Los Angeles area” and being forced to assimilate.
That’s right. The most politically correct cosmopolitan city in the world – San Francisco – has a major sports team mascot that is now in the crosshairs of those eager to rid the landscape of symbols and names deemed monstrous by the political correctness cleansing sweeping institutions of lower – I mean higher – learning.
Perhaps the San Francisco 49ers can take the lead of Long Beach State that in recent years, according to CSU-Long Beach President Jane Conley, has “evolved” from Prospector Pete. That includes the athletic department ditching the now offensive 49er mascot in 2014 in favor of being known as Beach Athletics.
The San Francisco 49ers could play it safe in the ultrasensitive PC world that is emerging and change their name to the San Francisco Hills.
That, however, may not be enough. In case no one has noticed San Francisco is named after one of the 10 most popular Catholic saints – St. Francis of Assisi.
Though no one has yet to disparage St. Francis he does have the burden of being associated with the Catholic Church that is vilified on a regular basis by the PC crowd. Stanford University just last week announced they are stripping the name of Junipero Serra from the name of a dormitory and an academic building.
Serra – canonized in 2015 by the pope – was described by a Stanford committee that pushed for the change for creating the mission system that “pervasively mistreated and abused California Native Americans.”
The San Francisco 49ers ownership might be better off changing the team name to the Santa Clara Silicon Chips. They need to put silicon in the name so they won’t be accused of promoting politically incorrect food – potato chips.
As for San Francisco, perhaps if they simply changed their name to The City they won’t be accused of being named after an organization that has ties with Father Serra.
It’s hard to dispute the claims made by the Long Beach students. Enslaving people to build things for you and forcing then to convert to your language and faith is definitely not acceptable. Nor is introducing diseases such as syphilis especially given how it is spread.
Since we’re sharpening the blade to rid our society of all symbols referencing to evil acts and/or behavior regardless of how far they go back let’s talk a moment about pre-European slavery in what today is known as the Americas. Long before Columbus landed here and Ohio had the audacity to name a city after him, many native tribes practiced some form of slavery involving members of other native tribes.
How benevolent were native tribes to their slaves from other native tribes? They were used as laborers. Many were used in ritual sacrifices that usually involved torture as part of religious rites. And more than a few times with certain tribes it involved ritual cannibalism.
Then there is the issue of sacrificing the most innocent. Killing children to appease the powers that controlled earth was rampant with the most heavily documented being among the Mayans, Incans, and Aztecans.
Hopefully the PC cleansing movement doesn’t overlook removing symbols of Indian tribes in the Americas that did what are by today standards barbaric and hideous acts such as killing young children as a sacrifice in the name of their gods. By comparison it almost makes Father Serra look like a saint.
Based on that, why does the state of California allow San Diego State CSU to use Aztecs as their mascot?
How can anyone of any ethnic background condone naming anything after people who engaged in the ritual killing of kids? It doesn’t matter that it was centuries ago just like it doesn’t matter the Gold Rush was more than 160 years ago or the missions were built more nearly two centuries ago.
Any act of evil that can be documented wipes out the good in the PC name cleansing movement. We know this because of the movement growing to erase the landscape of references to men like Thomas Jefferson who had slaves.
Rest assured if the scientist that finally finds a cure for cancer is later found out not to have passed the PC test du jour his or her name will be the target of a campaign to banish it from society.
Dig deep enough and everyone will find evil and despicable acts in the roots of their family trees.
And without a doubt every major event in the annals of mankind – the Gold Rush, Mao’s Cultural Movement, the rise of the Swahili Civilization, the spread of the Roman Empire, Ancient Egypt, and the American Revolution to name a few – had people who suffered unfairly either by being forced to give up their freedom or becoming collateral damage.
One thing is for sure. History teachers at colleges today definitely qualify for hazard pay.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.