Bishop Dukes’ good idea and the reason for segregation

The report:

Bishop James Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center, said he wants the statue gone, and he wants George Washington’s name removed from the park.

Dukes said, even though Washington was the nation’s first president and led the American army in the Revolutionary War, he’s no hero to the black community.

“There’s no way plausible that we would even think that they would erect a Malcolm X statue in Mount Greenwood, Lincoln Park, or any of that. Not that say Malcolm X was a bad guy; they just would not go for it,” he said. “Native Americans would not even think about putting up a Custer statue, because of the atrocities that he plagued upon Native Americans. And for them to say to us ‘just accept it’ is actually insulting.”

The pastor also said President Andrew Jackson’s name should be removed from nearby Jackson Park, because he also was a slave owner. He said he’s not necessarily asking the city rename the parks altogether. He suggested Washington Park could be named after former Mayor Harold Washington, and Jackson Park could be named after civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson or singer Michael Jackson.

Dukes said he’s not trying to erase history. He said black people should be able to decide who is and is not honored in their communities.

“I think we should be able to identify and decide who we declare heroes in or communities, because we have to tell the stories to our children of who these persons are,” he said.

He said parks, statues, or other monuments honoring Presidents Washington and Jackson might be appropriate elsewhere, but not in black neighborhoods.

This is a humane view.  One expects each community to honor its own heroes and ancestors, rather than others’.  And given the way history works, one group’s hero might be another group’s villain.  Nothing wrong or unusual about this.  Having distinct communities allows multiple collective memories to endure, each in its own place.  It follows that if whites wish to continue honoring their own heroes and their own past, they must not allow negroes into their communities in any significant numbers.  Conversely, blacks should not allow whites to colonize their neighborhoods.  That the members of the other race are friendly and law-abiding is irrelevant to this.

Today, public places in the American South are transitioning from white-controlled to black-controlled, at least in terms of whose collective memory is publicly acknowledged.  A certain amount of friction is inevitable in such a process, but it is exacerbated terribly by the failure to distinguish the public space from white and black communal private spaces.  Of course, this is because we’re not allowed to identify white-owned spaces.  But look what opportunities for conciliation arise when one does grant the existence of distinct ethnic spaces, as Pastor Dukes does above.  We move from the plane of moral absolutism to legitimate cultural pluralism.  Of course black-controlled public spaces will have statues of Malcolm X rather than Robert E. Lee.  It follows that statues of Lee should be transferred (in location and ownership) to white spaces, where whites can continue to venerate their hero.  That’s not going to happen.  Leftists are too wedded to their white-demonizing totalizing.  However, even if whites are completely eradicated, the problem of cultural pluralism will remain, and considerations like this will have to be made.

9 Responses

  1. For well over a century the Great American Condominium entailed a pantheon of heroes. This may have had its start in the Indian Wars, both sides of which the Nation eventually chose to honor. Of course the Indians were hated while the wars were in progress, and the White pioneers and frontier army are hated now, but for a hundred years we all looked up to the “Cowboys” and the “Indians.” The Civil War was a grand exercise in this promiscuous hero worship, until just the other day that is. The idea was that a Confederate was not a foreigner, but was in fact one of us. He accepted defeat, the indissolubility of the Union, the 14th and 15th Amendments, and we accepted his heroism and service. This was once again the case leaders of the Civil Rights movement. Certainly there was some resistance to MLK Day, but most people were willing to give him a place in the pantheon.

    This Condominium was abrogated with the vilification of Columbus, Custer, the Confederate generals, and any number of other traditional Icons. Of course it was aways somewhat fictional. Not that many Black Americans thrilled at the sight of Stone Mountain, Georgia; not many White Americans were moved by observances on MLK Day.

    Comments like this one from Bishop Duke simply make the abrogation clear. The protest gestures by professional football players do likewise. But if Bishop Duke will no longer pretend to honor men that I truly honor, I suppose I will no longer pretend to honor men that he truly honors. And if some people stop standing for the national anthem, I suppose it won’t be long before more people stop standing for the national anthem.

  2. “Standing there for a moment filled with dread Frodo became aware that a light was shining; he saw it glowing on Sam’s face beside him. Turning towards it, he saw, beyond an arch of boughs, the road to Osgiliath running almost as straight as a stretched ribbon down, down, into the West. There, far away, beyond sad Gondor now overwhelmed in shade, the Sun was sinking, finding at last the hem of the great slow-rolling pall of cloud, and falling in an ominous fire towards the yet unsullied Sea. The brief glow fell upon a huge sitting figure, still and solemn as the great stone kings of Argonath. The years had gnawed it, and violent hands had maimed it. Its head was gone, and in its place was set in mockery a round rough-hewn stone, rudely painted by savage hands in the likeness of a grinning face with one large red eye in the midst of its forehead. Upon its knees and mighty chair, and all about the pedestal, were idle scrawls mixed with the foul symbols that the maggot-folk of Mordor used.

    Suddenly, caught by the level beams, Frodo saw the old king’s head: it was lying rolled away by the roadside. ”Look, Sam!” he cried, startled into speech. ”Look! The king has got a crown again!”

    The eyes were hollow and the carven beard was broken, but about the high stern forehead there was a coronal of silver and gold. A trailing plant with flowers like small white stars had bound itself across the brows as if in reverence for the fallen king, and in the crevices of his stony hair yellow stonecrop gleamed.

    ”They cannot conquer for ever!” said Frodo. And then suddenly the brief glimpse was gone. The Sun dipped and vanished, and as if at the shattering of a lamp, black night fell.”

  3. I agree that his proposal seems very humane: of course predominantly black areas should have statues and parks which are consonant with the local culture, as opposed to being predominantly representative of the alien empire which rules over them.

    The problem with any pluralism though is that some cultures / ideological groups (like liberalism, which is primarily a white thing, and in fact is what gave rise to whiteness as an outbreeding of disparate European ethnicities) are committed to destroying anything that is Other. Pluralism can only keep these in check by asserting that pluralism itself is the higher value — and then we are back to liberalism all over again.

    I don’t say that to be a curmudgeon; I just don’t think there are any easy answers. Segregation enforced by the empire necessarily exalts the empire and its principle of pluralism as the more universal principle, to which all subsidiaries must bend the knee.

  4. In other words, pluralism only really works when configured as a self aware dominant culture over the whole empire, tolerating (in a limited way) inferior cultures recognized as inferior. Pluralism doesn’t work as a value in itself: that just is liberalism.

    In a perfect world that dominant uberculture is the Roman Catholic faith. Deus vult.

  5. Ethical pluralism is certainly incoherent, but I don’t think cultural pluralism needs to be, although it needs to be recognized by an authority above each subculture and justified by an ethical principle transcending each subculture. Particularism and filial piety are trans-cultural values (though at the heart of each one), although they are only part of the larger system of natural law. On a small scale, there’s no problem with the maxim that everyone should honor his own parents.

  6. I am quite sure it is all double talk and he really doesn’t mean a word of it.

  7. “One expects each community to honor its own heroes and ancestors, rather than others’.”

    But that raises the question of how one defines “the community.”

    Three of the largest public monuments in Glasgow depict William of Orange, (a Dutchman who drove out the last of the (Scottish) Stuarts), Horatio Nelson (an Englishman from Norfolk) and Dolores Ibárruri, known as “La Passionaria,” (a Basque) No one, so far as I know, has ever suggested removing any of them.

    Perhaps, Renan was right. The national community resides in the voluntary and revocable loyalty of its individual citizens. In this sense the nation is based on a “plébiscite de tous les jours” – on a daily vote of confidence.

  8. I have an acquaintance; he is a Black man, a secular Muslim, native-born American whose parents are immigrants from Africa. Born in Baltimore, raised in Chicago, resident of Atlanta.
    He has the battle flag of the army of northern Virginia on his car, his backpack, and has a jacket that uses it, as well.
    His reply when questioned is,
    ‘Whatever this thing may have meant 150 years ago I can’t confirm. But what it means *now*, to *me*. is ‘the contemporary South’. The culture of the contemporary South is open, friendly, and far less racist than what I lived through in the North. To me, the contemporary South is laid back, more interested in a person’s character than their skin color or their wealth, and welcoming. I wear show this flag because I am proud to live in a place where Whites and Blacks don’t mouth pieties but instead live, work, and eat together without comment.And it makes people who judge before knowing identify themselves to me.”
    He strikes me as more a part of Southern culture than of Black culture….

  9. It is the nature of conservatism to conserve evils. This opens the door for progressivism to attain perceived moral legitimacy by addressing these evils – at the same time introducing other, often worse evils.

    He said parks, statues, or other monuments honoring Presidents Washington and Jackson might be appropriate elsewhere, but not in black neighborhoods.

    For example, progressives will do their best to use the evil of oppressor-statues in black neighbourhoods as an excuse to take down the statues of these persons everywhere.

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