Geraldo Rivera resigned from his associate fellow position at Yale University. Quite a blow to the Ivy League establishment. And to associate fellows everywhere. Whatever that means. Probably around fifty grand. Mike Tyson has an honorary doctorate from Central State University. Anything is possible with an education.
Rivera made the entirely self-serving statement after Yale chose to rename its John C. Calhoun residential college because Calhoun was a noted proponent of the slave trade in the South in the early 1800’s. You know, unlike every single other person who went to fancy private schools and was rich enough to donate money for big buildings and public works.
Despite the current run of protests by students at really old elite schools over the ancient white guy names of campus buildings, just last year the Yale President said the school would keep the Calhoun name and use it as a historical teaching tool on the evils of slavery and racism. Decent dodge. Nine months and many sit-ins and bad press later, the President caved and pretended it was his idea all along to expunge the name Calhoun from the record.
Rivera took offense with the cave and the open ended play to historical revisionism:
Resigned yesterday as Associate Fellow of #CalhounCollege at #Yale. Been an honor but intolerant insistence on political correctness is lame. Slavery was abhorrent sin. Will #Yale students now petition to change name of #USA capital? #Washington was a slave holder as was #Jefferson. To judge a 200 yr old early 19th century historic figure by standards of the 21st century as #Yale is doing is more Orwellian than inspired.
Elihu Yale himself was a slave trader in the employ of the East India Trading company back in his day. Slavery has been a commercial enterprise since the dawn of time that continues to this day. All the wonders of the ancient world and many of the modern world were built by slaves or indentured servants. An equal opportunity exploitation run by slave masters of all races, creeds, and ethnic origin. The cotton industry of the United States was made possible only by imported cheap manual labor. Times change. People evolve. Now we use illegal Mexicans domestically and twelve year old Surinamese girls abroad. Enlightenment is nice, but not as nice as inexpensive t-shirts.
For all the self-promotion involved in any Geraldo Rivera stand taking, the weirdly sculpted naked man re-makes a good point. Continuously revising conventions based upon a modern interpretation of historical events is a never-ending game of political correctness. There is literally no end to the process. Beyond the practical matter of deciding how to re-name and re-label everything, there’s the bigger issue of what rich people are going to want to pay for shit anymore. That name in ten foot tall letters on the front of the library or hospital or college research center is the big incentive. Calhoun’s family paid. Now they’re out a college. Carnegie, Stanford, Rockefeller, and similar fuckers paid for a shit ton of stuff in this country. Maybe pass the hat around those poor Ivy League kids chanting in the street.
Photo credit: Twitter