I have been very critical of efforts to censor, destroy, remove or otherwise hide the mural by Thomas Hart Benton in Indiana University’s Woodburn Hall. There is a stronger case for removing the swastika tiles in the Intramural center, because the tiles are not as historically significant as the mural. There is also more opportunity to educate students taking a class in Woodburn than students going into the Intramural Center to work out. (Classes are no longer held in that room.)
Still, this represents yet another disturbing example of Leftists erasing history to assuage hurt feelings. The swastika tiles are not Nazi symbols. They were installed to represent various cultures, and they were installed before the Nazi Party came to power. The purpose and history of the tiles can be explained with plaques, handouts, e-mails and web videos, so students can put them in the proper context. And let’s be clear: No serious person actually believes that Indiana University ever openly endorsed Nazi ideology.
If Indiana University was replacing the tiles and storing the swastika tiles in a historical exhibit designed to explain them, that would be one thing. That is not what is happening. “The tiles will be sanded over and altered to remove the swastikas,” according to the Indiana Daily Student. I was shocked to read of the planned destruction, but relieved when the Provost explained in a mass e-mail that some of the tiles will be preserved in their original form.
Vandalizing the tiles is still wrong, however. It is one thing to relocate all of the tiles so they are seen in a different context. It is another thing entirely to destroy or vandalize them. Indiana University, an institution of higher learning, is literally sandblasting history. This is a radically authoritarian and totalitarian move. Instead of destruction, the university should have embraced the opportunity to teach about other cultures and the history of a symbol that is now associated with evil.
This represents everything that is wrong with political correctness, and both students and alumni should voice their displeasure with the administration’s actions.