As the Black Lives Matter revolution rolls on, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had portraits of her pre-Civil War predecessors who joined the Confederacy removed from the hallowed halls of Congress. First to go was Robert M.T. Hunter of Virginia.
The T in Hunter’s name was Taliaferro, a revered Italian name in American history dating from the 1600s. The Italic Institute considers Hunter the first Italian American Speaker of the House. Taliaferro was also the maternal name of 20th Century House Speaker Sam Rayburn, an Italian American who also predated Nancy Pelosi. She may be the first woman Speaker but not the first Italic one, as she claims.
I doubt if Pelosi knows or understands that she just expunged Italian American history. If she keeps her job after the next election, I expect her to guillotine Columbus Day as the left remakes America. Pelosi was never an Italian American advocate. Her constituency has always be the Israeli lobby and San Francisco left.
If she were asked to lead an Italian American revolution would she be up for it? Would she denounce President Theodore Roosevelt for endorsing the 1891 lynching of eleven Sicilians in New Orleans “as a rather good thing.” Would she remove Roosevelt’s portrait from the Capitol and demand that he be chiseled off Mt. Rushmore, as a racist? How about President Richard Nixon’s portrait? He’s on tape saying that Italians “smell different,” and “you can’t find an honest one.”
Of course, this is all nonsense. Italian Americans have no problem with history, only the distortion of it. Taliaferro Hunter’s portrait documented his Speakership (1839-1841). Who knows where the mob will lead Pelosi. Even a statue of Union General Ulysses S. Grant has been toppled – the man who defeated the Confederacy – what on earth was his sin?
Some believe that this national protest movement, ignited by the police killings of Black men, will peter out after the statues come down and police departments are overhauled. However, the operative words in this movement are to destroy “systemic racism.” Black Lives Matter may be forcing the issue, but it has gained the support of corporate America, the media, academia, the Democratic Party, and young Whites – in short, a significant chunk of White America. Money is flowing in, promises are being made to the African American community. Even die-hard Republicans and Trumpists acknowledge that police reform is needed. But the idea that the whole “system” (i.e., society and all its institutions) is rotten and needs radical change is not shared by all.
There is such a thing as a Black conservative, someone who agrees that racism exists but sees flaws in African American culture that worsen its effects. You are more likely to see these outliers on FOX News than on mainstream media. A young lady named Candace Owens first flowered on Youtube a couple of years ago, and has already gained the ire of the left. Her message is “stop thinking like a victim and improve yourself.” It was the same message that comedian Bill Cosby tried to convey before his downfall. If the statistics for police brutality are trumpeted by the Black community, those of their social deconstruction are being suppressed: 70%+ of Black births are out of wedlock, 57.6% of Black children are living absent their biological fathers (comparison: 31.2% of Hispanic children, and 20.7% of white children. Source: fathers.com). Not to consider these stats in confronting “systemic racism” is to ignore a good part of the “system.”
I have the greatest respect for these African American conservatives. Berated as Uncle Toms, despised for introspection instead of protest, they have arrived at a not-so-universal truth: “know thyself.” A Greek precept that we have applied at our Italic Institute – to inspire Italian Americans to think differently. We have always preached that Italian Americans are responsible for their own negative images. As you know, it’s been an uphill battle. Protesting is of little use when the “victims” don’t admit the problem is internal.
The outrage of the African American community is justified and it must be addressed. However, that community must listen to its whistleblowers so that change can be more permanent. The racial upheavals of the 1960s broke barriers but also launched a government welfare system which many Black conservatives believe destroyed the Black family.
Solutions do not always come from the outside. -JLM