Kill Your Forefathers!

A campaign is under way to purge state legal codes and constitutions of anachronistic, racist language. This November Oregon voters will be asked whether or not to remove a provision from the state constitution that reads: “No free negro, or mulatto, not residing in this state at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall come, reside, or be within this State, or hold any real estate.” I suppose removing such passages is harmless enough but things are not so simple. As this news story makes clear, the campaign is also a war against the past and a declaration of the moral superiority of our own times. “It reminds us what kinds of people were here in the 1850s,” the head of Oregon’s historical society tells the reporter. Thank God we got rid of the kinds of people who spread out across the American west in the nineteenth century.
Posted by at September 27, 2002 03:40 PM | Send

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