Like everyone else, I have aspects of my history that are good and bad, but I embrace it because that makes me who I am. Should I be canceled?
How about Mercedes-Benz for their role in the largest human massacre, the Holocaust? After Daimler-Benz opened its archives in 1986, a wealth of information about Daimler-Benz’s military-industrial connection to the Nazi party was uncovered. In 2019, Mercedes–Benz sales worldwide increased by 1.3% to a record 2,339,562 cars.
How about the song “Here Comes the Bride? The song’s origins come from the Richard Wagner opera “Lohengrin. Wagner’s darker ideologies lead some couples to eschew the song. Besides the tragic events that follow its appearance in “Lohengrin,” the composer was also known for his anti-Semitic views. The Jewish Virtual Library mentioned some of his more troubling assertions, including ideas that Jewish people lacked artistic passion and the ability for intricate, sophisticated musical expression.
Additionally, Wagner was later hailed by Nazi ideologies as an example of “Aryan cultural greatness.” For those reasons, most Jewish couples do not play “Bridal Chorus” in their ceremonies, but this song remains wildly popular for other weddings.
And that is why I found UW-Madison’s plan to remove a boulder from its’ Observatory Hill troubling after calls from students of color who see the rock as a painful reminder of the history of racism on campus; I don’t understand the select identity politics that are increasingly becoming more popular.
The 70-ton boulder is officially known as Chamberlin Rock in honor of Thomas Crowder Chamberlin, a geologist, and former university president. But the rock was referred to at least once after it was dug out of the hill as a “n***erhead,” a commonly used expression in the 1920s to describe any large dark rock.
To me, identity politics are going too far. Tell the truth — would you allow your kids to play in a park with feces or needles? Shaun King, who identifies himself as “Proud husband & father; Co-Founder & Executive Director of The Grassroots Law Project; Founder @TheNorthStar Host of @TheBreakdown and Co-Founder @RealJusticePAC” once tweeted “I’ve noticed that it’s only White Americans who complain about the fecal matter on the streets of San Francisco. White entitlement issues, again.” Why is wanting a clean park racist? Doesn’t every child deserve a clean park to play in?
Perhaps instead of deflecting to race, more of us should pay attention to why are the streets becoming increasingly dirty? The department’s street cleaning budget has nearly doubled in just the past five years from $33.4 million during the 2012–2013 fiscal year, to $65.4 million in the current 2017–2018 budget.