Tag: slavery

Ben Carson apparently thinks that abolitionists are only worth one-tenth of a person

For the first time in a century and a quarter, a woman will be on the face of U.S. paper currency. For the first time ever, the woman on the face of U.S. paper currency will be a woman of color.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced that Harriet Tubman, a slave, abolitionist, and pro-women’s suffrage activist who is best known for her roles in the Harper’s Ferry raid and the Underground Railroad, will replace Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States whose legacy includes the Trail of Tears forced removal of Native Americans from the South, on the front the $20 bill. $20 bills currently in circulation with Jackson on the front will still be legal tender, however.

While both Democratic presidential candidates have praised the Treasury Department’s decision to place Tubman on the most widely circulated form of U.S. paper currency, failed former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, now a Donald Trump supporter, went on FOX Business Network and said that he thinks that the Treasury Department should have put Tubman on the rarely-circulated $2 bill instead:

…During a Fox Business Network interview Wednesday, the failed presidential candidate turned Trump surrogate lamented to Neil Cavuto that Jackson was “a tremendous president” and “in honor of that we kick him off the money.” Asked whether he is, by extension, anti-Tubman, the retired neurosurgeon replied: “No. I love Harriet Tubman, I love what she did. We can find another way to honor her. Maybe a $2 bill?”…

Many Americans don’t realize this, but the $2 bill, which currently features Thomas Jefferson on the front of the bill, is actually legal tender in the United States. However, the $2 bill is rarely circulated (in fact, I’ve not seen a $2 bill in many years).

Now, back to the main point of this blog post…right-wingers have officially gone from believing that people of color are three-fifths of a person to believing that people of color are one-tenth of a person. Personally, while Tubman wasn’t my first choice for the new $20 bill (Sacajawea was my first preference), I don’t think that there’s a better way to honor Tubman, who is one of the greatest Americans to have ever lived, than to put her on the front of the most circulated form of U.S. paper currency. Oh, and I believe that people of color are full people.

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Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s racism goes much further than University of Oklahoma students signing a racist song on a bus

The national organization of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (ΣAE, also abbreviated SAE) fraternity closed its University of Oklahoma (OU) chapter after a video showing OU SAE members singing a song to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands” that included flagrantly racist lyrics was posted to YouTube.

As it turns out, there’s far more to SAE’s bigotry than just a video posted online by a member of the group’s University of Oklahoma chapter.

First, the national SAE organization touts its ties to the pre-Civil War South and the Confederacy on its own website:

Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded on March 9, 1856, at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Its founders were Noble Leslie DeVotie, Nathan Elams Cockrell, John Barratt Rudulph, John Webb Kerr, Samuel Marion Dennis, Wade Hampton Foster, Abner Edwin Patton, and Thomas Chappell Cook. Their leader was DeVotie, who wrote the ritual, created the grip, and chose the name. Rudulph designed the badge. Of all existing national social fraternities today, Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the only national fraternity founded in the antebellum South.

Founded in a time of intense sectional feeling, Sigma Alpha Epsilon confined its growth to the southern states. By the end of 1857, the fraternity numbered seven chapters. Its first national convention met in the summer of 1858 at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with four of its eight chapters in attendance. By the time of the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, fifteen chapters had been established.

None of the founders of SAE were members of any other fraternity, although Noble Leslie DeVotie had been invited to join all of the other fraternities at the University of Alabama before founding Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

The fraternity had fewer than 400 members when the Civil War began. Of those, 369 went to war for the Confederate States and seven for the Union Army. Seventy-four members of the fraternity lost their lives in the war.

SAE was founded in an era when slavery was legal in many states, and was founded as a fraternity of, for, and by white racists and slavery supporters, most of whom fought for slavery and the right of states to secede from the Union. Sadly, it’s not surprising that SAE is full of racists.

Second, the SAE chapter at Oklahoma State University (OSU), a public university in Stillwater, Oklahoma, had at least one member hang a Confederate flag in the window of his room, and the flag was clearly visible from outside the OSU SAE fraternity house.

Racism in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity is absolutely rampant.