Worker Smashes "Racist" Panel, Loses Job


#1

New Haven Independent:

Worker Smashes “Racist” Panel, Loses Job

The dishwasher, Corey Menafee, said he used a broomstick to knock the panel to the floor. He said he was tired of looking at the “racist, very degrading” image.City police arrested Menafee, who now faces a felony charge. The university, meanwhile, has cut ties with him. (It was not officially clear Monday afternoon how exactly that happened.)

His actions provide the latest chapter in a contentious debate over the racially charged symbolism of the college, named for slavery advocate and former U.S. Vice-President John C. Calhoun. The debate gathered steam last summer with a petition demanding a name change, and has since grown to encompass the slavery-themed paintings, artifacts, and stained-glass tiles displayed in the college. In April, Yale President Peter Salovey announced that Yale will keep the Calhoun name despite a year-long campaign by students and faculty calling for it to be changed.

Menafee, who is 38 years old, said he wasn’t motivated by allegiance to student activists when, while helping clean the hall on Monday, June 13, he decided on a sudden impulse to knock the panel down.

“When I walked into this job, I wasn’t aware of none of that,” Menafee said. “And then you know, being there, you start hearing different things.”
“I took a broomstick, and it was kind of high, and I climbed up and reached up and broke it,” he said. “It’s 2016, I shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that.”
“I just said, ‘That thing’s coming down today. I’m tired of it,’” he added. “I put myself in a position to do it, and did it.”

I certainly don’t condone Menafee’s actions but I certainly understand black students’ and employees’ resentment. I don’t think should wipe out reminders of the past Stalin style but it would have been wise to move the panel to a museum or maybe the library.


#2

If one has resentment about disagreeable elements of workplace, that doesn’t excuse destruction of property. I’m glad this individual has a freed-up future to decide where to go next.


#3

I bet more people would be sympathetic to those who find certain monuments, names, and pieces of art ‘offensive’ if they engaged in discourse instead of smashing them and spraypainting slogans on them. Destruction and vandalism are not the answer.


#4

Symbols can have a power effect on people.


#5

Of course, racism has to come up in everything. Most presidents owned slaves before Lincoln, anyhow! So perhaps we should change the historical records to say that George Washington was never our president, nor was Thomas Jefferson, two of our greatest presidents and politicians…


#6

Exactly, and we should tear out any pages in our history books that depict slaves, and burn all copies of Gone with the Wind. :rolleyes:


#7

This guy is the opposite of a social justice warrior.


#8

BUT NOT THE MOVIE! You will have to take my copy of the movie out of my cold dead hands!!!:smiley:


#9

Does that include Exodus?! :popcorn:


#10

Would you understand if students ripped down rainbow flags or destroyed images of Harvey Milk or Margaret Sanger?

Every morning in June (and several times a year) I am greater by a rainbow flag and stories celebrating gay pride when I login to my company’s intranet. Should I rant that it be moved to somewhere I don’t have to see it or perhaps hack into the content server to remove the offensive content? Or should I simply continue to shake my head and ignore it? I find dozens of thing everyday that are offensive, but I don’t demand they be locked away.


#11

How sad the racial tensions in the US today. :frowning:


#12

And all references, too: so that’s most of the New Testament! :eek:


#13

Not always easy to do. My State’s Capitol is full of murals by Thomas Hart Benton. Some of them might be objectionable to some people. You would have to remove the walls themselves to get rid of them.


#14

I suspect it was the student rabble rousers that had a powerful effect on Mr. Menafee rather than a panel with John C. Calhoun’s name on it. I doubt very much that Menafee,or more than half the Yale student body for that matter, could tell you who Calhoun was and what his positions on the various issues of the time were.


#15

Completely agree, social media is holding a spotlight to it too - not saying it’s better when it was more hidden but it’s a real issue that somehow needs sorting


#16

“It’s 2016, I shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that.”

He should not have taken this job then. :shrug:


#17

But in the left (not the economic left, I’m talking Hillary Clinton, for instance), that was social justice. It may also be “offensive” to like the policies of presidents like Andrew Jackson, or even people such as Benjamin Franklin – who have both had a profound impact on our history! :wink:


#18

Not sure why this period art is deemed racist (demeaning)


#19

Perhaps we should remove the offensive artwork of the era from museums, churches and libraries! All of that is racist, even though it is a serious part of our history.

Many African Americans and members of other Black American ethnic groups even take pride in the fact that their ancestors managed to preserve their unique culture and race, even through slavery.

And it wasn’t just black people – in British America, French-speaking Catholic Acadians were legally taken as slaves, sold in the West Indies.


#20

Metropolitan Museum of Art Is Sued Over Display of ‘Racist’ 16th-Century Paintings of Jesus

news.artnet.com/art-world/racist-jesus-lawsuit-met-museum-388382


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