The massive unrest unleashed by the killing of George Floyd spawned what is being dubbed the “cancel culture.”
“Liberal McCarthyite witch hunt” is perhaps a more apt term.
People are getting fired from jobs for saying things that by any objective standard are not even racist but are simply critiques of Black Lives Matter dogma.
UCLA earlier this month abruptly suspended a longstanding professor who was accused of racism in an online petition because he subjected a student to withering intellectual analysis–the kind of thing universities are supposed to prize–when she basically asked him to cancel final exams for black students.
Now, this week, over in Fullerton, California, the Lewis E. Plummer Auditorium is being renamed because its namesake was supposedly a Klan member. But there is no hard evidence the early 20th Century educator actually belonged to the KKK.
The allegation is basically third hand information and hearsay. It is contained in an academic paper quoting another academic’s paper who quoted somebody saying Plummer was a Klansman.
Does that sound like how in Salem, Massachusetts one person would whisper to another that somebody was clearly a witch then that person would repeat the charge and then then the accused woman would end up going on trial and getting hanged?
On Tuesday, board members of the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, which owns the auditorium, voted to rename it.
“It’s never too late to confront our past,” said board member Lauren Klatzker. “It’s time to make a change. We need to represent everyone in our community.”
But there was some skepticism expressed from community members.
“If he was a KKK leader and there’s supporting information, a picture, something he wrote, something he was quoted in, I’m for it,” one speaker said. “But there doesn’t seem to be evidence.”
Plummer was superintendent of the District, which then included the high school and Fullerton College, from 1919 to 1941.
He doesn’t sound like much of a bigot.
Some speakers said that he assisted migrant Mexican farmworkers in learning English and obtaining an education.
The evidence against him was a 1979 doctoral dissertation by UCLA student Christopher Cocoltchos that quoted another researcher’s interview with former Fullerton City lawyer Albert Launer saying Plummer joined the KKK “as a man dedicated to the idea that youth should not be confronted with the bad habits of the day.”
There had been rumblings several years ago about Plummer’s background.
But the issue reached critical mass this month when Fullerton native and UC Riverside student Jacqueline Logwood started an online petition demanding a name change. It stated that “Louis E. Plummer was a member of the Ku Klux Klan” and “an important building for the community should not continue to bear the name of a white supremacist, of a proud and active KKK member.” Within days it gathered 25,292 signatures.
The name change was then placed on the board’s agenda. The item said that the “historical record indicates that Louis Plummer was associated with the Ku Klux Klan” and that a “facility named for someone associated with the KKK is at odds with” board policies and non-discrimination guidelines.
Asked if he was concerned about tarring an innocent man District Superintendent Scott Scambray told the California Globe that “from all the research we could gather he was in the KKK.”
Scambray said that when he researched the issue several years ago he found other evidence, besides the City lawyer’s contention, that Plummer was a Klansman. But he said he couldn’t remember the details.
“I think anybody associated with the KKK should not have a building named after him.”