Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Only in Berkeley

Apparently, being a founding father of the greatest nation on earth doesn't have the same cachet it once did. At least, not in Berkeley.
Parents, students and teachers at Berkeley's Thomas Jefferson Elementary School will soon vote on whether to rename their school because the nation's third president was a slave owner.
Contenders for the new name included Ralph Bunche, the African American diplomat at the United Nations who was the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize; farmworker organizer Cesar Chavez; and Florence McDonald, the late Berkeley city councilwoman, leftist political leader and mother of singer Country Joe McDonald.
But the folks in Berkeley seem to have a dislike for other famous white people as well.
In 1999, Columbus Elementary School in West Berkeley was rebuilt after it was found to be seismically unsafe, and it was renamed Rosa Parks Elementary School - but only after intense debate about whether Cesar Chavez was a better alternative.

Also, James Garfield Middle School was renamed after Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and Abraham Lincoln Elementary School was renamed for Malcolm X in the 1970s.
The city of Berkeley itself is named for Bishop George Berkeley, an Irish philosopher. Hmmm. That's not very P.C. either...

No comments: