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Thursday, July 16, 2020

Cancel New York (UPDATED)

UPDATE: According to Michael Goodwin at The New York Post, “The family that owns The New York Times were slaveholders.” Mr. Goodwin writes,

It’s far worse than I thought. In addition to the many links between the family that owns The New York Times and the Civil War Confederacy, new evidence shows that members of the extended family were slaveholders.

Last Sunday, I recounted that Bertha Levy Ochs, the mother of Times patriarch Adolph S. Ochs, supported the South and slavery. She was caught smuggling medicine to Confederates in a baby carriage and her brother Oscar joined the rebel army.

I have since learned that, according to a family history, Oscar Levy fought alongside two Mississippi cousins, meaning at least three members of Bertha’s family fought for secession.

Adolph Ochs’ own “Southern sympathies” were reflected in the content of the Chattanooga Times, the first newspaper he owned, and then The New York Times. The latter published an editorial in 1900 saying the Democratic Party, which Ochs supported, “may justly insist that the evils of negro suffrage were wantonly inflicted on them.”

Six years later, the Times published a glowing profile of Confederate President Jefferson Davis on the 100th anniversary of his birth, calling him “the great Southern leader.”

Ochs reportedly made contributions to rebel memorials, including $1,000 to the enormous Stone Mountain Memorial in Georgia that celebrates Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. He made the donation in 1924 so his mother, who died 16 years earlier, could be on the founders’ roll, adding in a letter that “Robert E. Lee was her idol.”

In the years before his death in 1931, Ochs’ brother George was simultaneously an officer of The New York Times Company and a leader of the New York Chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The rest of Goodwin’s piece is a worthy read. And thus, it seems that my call to “cancel New York,” is even more valid than I first thought. Again, at least according to the standards” the modern left has established. 


When I say “cancel New York,” I mean every bit of it, including the state of New York, New York City, the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, the New York Giants, the New York Jets, and, of course, The New York Times. This is the only way to satisfy the standards already clearly established by the foolish cancel culture that currently plagues the U.S.

In fact, according to cancel culture standards, New York should have been cancelled years ago. As a Thomas Phippen—associate editor at the Daily Caller—piece put it in 2017, “New York Is Named After A Horrendous Slave Trader.” Mr. Phippen wrote,

New York, both the city and the state, is named after the house of York and particularly for James Stuart, then Duke of York, one of the most successful slavers in colonial American history…

James Stuart conquered the settlements between the Delaware and the Connecticut rivers from the Dutch in 1664, and the name of the principal port, New Amsterdam, was promptly changed to honor the new master. James’ brother, King Charles II of England, gave the territory to the duke in exchange for four beaver pelts annually.

The Duke of York, who later became King James II of England (and James VII of Scotland), created Britain’s greatest slave empire known as the Royal African Company, which transported between 90,000 and 100,000 African slaves to the Caribbean and American colonies between 1672 and 1689.

As Phippen also noted, according to Sir Hilary Beckles, the current vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies, after establishing ports along Africa’s Gold Coast, the Royal African Company “soon became the largest single company involved in the slave trade. Between 1680 and 1700 it supplied some 30,000 Africans to the Caribbean.” Beckles adds that, “Slaves purchased for the Royal African Company of England were branded ‘DY,’ Duke of York, after the president of the company.”

According to a 2005 article in The Nation, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, slavery was so profitable in the New York area that by 1703, 42 percent of New York households had slaves. Among early colonial American cities, this rate of slave ownership was second only to Charleston, South Carolina. In 2012, writing in the Huffington Post, Alan Singer noted that “Slavery was such a big part of early New York that during the colonial era one in five people living in New York was an enslaved African.”

Mr. Singer also revealed that,

The fact is that New York’s first City Hall was built with slave labor. The first Congress passed the Bill of Rights there and George Washington gave his inaugural speech there. Slaves helped build the wall that Wall Street is named for.

Business Insider notes that—along with Harvard Law School and Georgetown University, which, of course, are not in New York, but, based on current “standards,” also well deserve cancellation—multiple New York landmarks were built by slaves. What’s more, dozens of New York City streets are named for citizens who were prominent slaveholders or slave traders.

The New York Yankees—according to Forbes, the second most valuable sports franchise in the world—has a long history of engaging in real “systemic racism.” As David Marcus of The Federalist noted last year, “The Yankees systematically denied qualified black baseball players the right to make a good living for more than half a century.”

While pointing out the absurdity and the hypocrisy of cancelling Kate Smith and her seminal “God Bless America,” Marcus mockingly adds,

I am deeply offended by the fact that the New York Yankees refused to field a black player for the first half of the 20th century. Don’t tell me that’s just how it was. Don’t tell me it was the rule. Branch Rickey and the Brooklyn Dodgers had the courage to break that rule in the 1940s, well before the beloved Yankees did. How can this be forgiven?

Of course liberals are quick to forgive—or at least forget—when the cancel culture might actually cost them something that they care about. This is why the Yankees remain—well, I guess they’re still out there somewhere, while the leftists running their league still pretend the Wuhan virus is a real danger—and Kate Smith had to go. As Marcus points out, this is just another example of the “empty virtue signaling” that American leftists are all too comfortable with.

Such “empty virtue signaling,” or cancel culture hypocrisy, is currently on full display all across the U.S., with liberals like those who dominate the media, politics, and culture of New York City leading the way. Their venom has fueled an ignorant rage that, not only has cost people their jobs, but has resulted in widespread death and destruction across the U.S.

As resigning New York Times opinion columnist and editor Bari Weiss put it, this “venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.” For example, when it comes to black lives, the “proper targets” are white cops. Never mind that the vast majority of black Americans who are violently killed are murdered by those who share their skin color, and that this almost always happens in U.S. cities where liberal (democrat) politics and worldview have dominated for decades.

Of course, democrats have long dominated New York politics, which is another reason for cancelling New York. Nothing in the history of the United States has a more racist past than the Democrat Party. As I note in The Miracle and Magnificence of America,

The Confederate States of America was formed at the Montgomery Convention in February of 1861. For the southern states—and anyone else in the world paying attention—the agenda of the newly formed (and electorally victorious) Republican Party agenda was clear. Every party platform since the creation of the Republican Party had forcefully denounced slavery. After the infamous Dred Scott ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857, the subsequent Republican platform strongly condemned the ruling and reaffirmed the right of Congress to ban slavery in the territories. Tellingly, the corresponding Democrat platform praised the Dred Scott ruling and condemned all efforts to end slavery in the U.S.

For six consecutive party platforms—from 1840 through 1860—the Democrat Party defended and promoted the evil institution of slavery in the United States.

Clearly, if one looks hard and far enough, the history of New York is as racist as any other part of America that one might want to cancel. Thus, according to the "standards" of today's left, it is time for New York—and all institutions that share that name—to go the way of all those Confederate statues. Now, if you are part of this cancel culture that is currently sweeping the U.S. but you are not for cancelling New York, you are clearly a hypocrite. If New York, in spite of its history and the history of its namesake, is allowed to stay, then virtually everything else in America targeted by the cancel culture should be left alone as well.

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

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