Winnowing but not sifting

No mistake goes unforgiven 

Our apologies to University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. The Werkes called the chancellor a “craven coward” for knowing better but for acceding nonetheless to the Woke cultural vandals by obliterating the name of renowned actor and alumnus Fredric March.

Blank was well aware that, as an undergraduate in the early 1920, the Wisconsin native helped form a club with the unfortunate name of Ku Klux Klan. Realizing their mistake, the name was quickly changed. Those students so long ago engaged in no acts of harassment. March interspersed his stellar career with advocacy for human rights.

The NAACP knows that and, as we related last week, called for their ally’s good name to be restored — having been besmirched “solely by social media rumor and grievously fact-free, mistaken conclusions.”

Fredric March with civil rights leaders

Book burning, too?

66% of college students say shouting down speakers is actually free speech, according to a poll of 37,000 students at 159 top-ranked colleges and universities. Another 23% believe it is appropriate to use violence to cancel speech.

This is the core of the philosophy of the Antifa movement, law prof Jonathan Turley writes.

Eminent historians … say Fredric March
was no racist but a civil rights superstar

“Of all the people chosen to bear the burden of our racist past, Fredric March is the last person that should be asked to do that,” said Raymond Arsenault, the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History at the University of South Florida.

“It’s almost tragic, really, that someone who did so much for civil rights would be treated like this. It’s horrible,” Arsenault told Gonis. “The irony is that someone as dedicated as Fredric March to civil rights and human rights could end up as a victim.” — More here.

Exhibiting a fine disdain for the empiric principal, Blank is having none of it. In fact, she doubles down in a letter to the New York Times.

While it is good that March went on to become a fighter for civil rights and equality, the fact remains that while a student here he aligned himself with a student group that echoed the KKK name. There are some things in our country’s history that are so toxic that you can never erase the stain, let alone merit a named space in our student union. Membership in a group with a name like that of the KKK is one of them.

By God if she doesn’t close with a reference to the university’s famed pledge to “sift and winnow” in the pursuit of the truth. Now that, my fine feathered friends, is some graduate-level chutzpah!

Where is the local outrage?

Former Madison mayor Dave Cieslewicz raises his hand:

Let me see if I understand what Blank is saying. If an 18-year old kid joins a group with an offensive name (but which does nothing offensive) and then goes on to spend a lifetime fighting racism, he should still be cancelled. One transgression (even one that does not seem to actually be much of a transgression) may never be forgiven. Do I have that right, Chancellor? And, if that’s the case, what message does that send to anyone who has actually done offensive things? What’s the point in trying to make amends when there are only mortal sins and no absolution?

Good on Citizen Dave. But why has no one else taken up the cause for truth and reconciliation? Where is the thundering WI State Journal editorial? Could The Capital Times just once break with the Woke Wobblies? Where is university system president Tommy Thompson? The UW Alumni Assn.? The Faculty Senate? Anyone in Journalism School? A professor emerita or two?

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Rebecca Blank is not a craven coward. She is a Cancel Culture co-conspirator.

Can YOU fill in the Blank?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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