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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Paul-Robeson-postage-stamp-20041.jpg

If someone is told to let sleeping dogs lie, it means that they shouldn't disturb a situation as it would result in trouble or complications.[1]

Apparently, Erik Opczynski, president of the Rutgers-Camden College Republicans, doesn’t understand that concept; neither is he familiar with another idiom that comes from the black community, “Don’t start no shit and there won’t be no shit.

Opczynski, a white student at Rutgers-Camden College, obviously doesn’t know a thing about why Robeson among other blacks at that time joined the Communist Party. It is a piece of history white America might want to bury when it comes to race relations; but just for any that are not familiar with the period, the following is a short list of how blacks were treated during that time.

In 1931, nine black boys were falsely accused of rape and sentenced to death. As World War II raged in Europe, hundreds of thousands of whites garnered jobs in the defense industry while the number of blacks barely numbered 3,000. Blacks that served in the U.S. Army during that war had to serve in segregated units. Blacks were not allowed to vote in the South. From 1930 to 1940, 125 blacks were lynched in the United States.

Perhaps, the names of buildings bearing the name of slave-owners should be changed like all the sites bearing the monikers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson and Ulysses Grant.

"Although he was a very intelligent and gifted man, Paul Robeson made a very unfortunate choice. He was a personal admirer of Josef Stalin," Opczynski, of Palmyra, told the Daily News. "My problem is Rutgers placing this man, Mr. Robeson, on a pedestal considering his unsavory, almost disgraceful past."[2]

Opczynski started a Facebook group for his cause, which 16 members "liked." The Rutgers-Camden College Republicans has approximately 30 members, according on its Facebook page, and several of them referred all comments to Opczynski, who claims his cause has support from Democrats at the school too. [3]

The move by the 21-year-old student has awakened many of those who fought to have Robeson’s name placed on the library in 1991. In fact, many of the school’s faculty rebutted Opczynski’s statements and their no plans to change the name of the library.

At 21-years-old, it is apparent Opczynski is ignorant of much America’s shoddy racial history, including the stance of many American icons who have not only owned slaves, but participated in the racially motivated interment of Japanese US citizens.

An old saying has it that it is better to be thought a fool by remaining silent, than opening ones mouth and removing all doubt.



[1] Idiom Definitions for 'Let sleeping dogs lie, UsingEnglish.com,

http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/let+sleeping+dogs+lie.html

[2] College Republicans campaign to take Paul Robeson's name off library at Rutgers-Camden, Jason Nark, Philadelphia Daily News, October. 9, 2010,  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20101009_College_Republicans_take_aim_at_Paul_Robeson___his_name_on_library_at_Rutgers-Camden.html

[3] College Republicans campaign to take Paul Robeson's name off library at Rutgers-Camden, Jason Nark, Philadelphia Daily News, October. 9, 2010,  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20101009_College_Republicans_take_aim_at_Paul_Robeson___his_name_on_library_at_Rutgers-Camden.html

5:34 pm cdt          Comments

2010.10.01 | 2010.09.01

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