by Brian Tinsman


WASHINGTON — The political dominoes fell quickly at the University of Maryland, after community activism caused the school’s Board of Regents to vote overwhelmingly in favor of remove former school President H.C. “Curley” Byrd’s name from the football and lacrosse stadium.

It was only four days ago that current school President Wallace D. Loh called the issue “difficult and emotion-laden…any outcome will likely please few.”

Danny Rouhier of 106.7 The Fan’s “Grant and Danny Show” is OK with the outcome but shared his concerns with the process that caused the decision in the first place.

“The byproduct of us being permanently offended, the unfortunate correllary to people not being able to hear anything that they disagree with anymore in a state of permanent offense, is that we wipe away history,” he said during Friday’s Double Play segment. “It’s something that I’m very uncomfortable with.

“I understand not being pleased finding out certain details about some historical figures. I understand not loving the fact that there are three dimensions to every person. The contemporary value system that we have now, as it related to the values of 160, 170 years ago, 2,000 years ago–whatever date you want to point to–that ratio will be the same to folks in the future. They’ll look back and say, ‘I can’t believe they allowed this,’ or ‘I can’t believe this happened during this time.’ It’s very easy sitting in our catbird seat, knowing what we know and condemn people in the past.

“The contemporary value system that we have now, as it related to the values of 160, 170 years ago, 2,000 years ago–whatever date you want to point to–that ratio will be the same to folks in the future. They’ll look back and say, ‘I can’t believe they allowed this,’ or ‘I can’t believe this happened during this time.’ It’s very easy sitting in our catbird seat, knowing what we know and condemn people in the past.

“It’s very easy sitting in our catbird seat, knowing what we know and condemn people in the past.”

Rouhier referenced recent movements at Georgetown University, VCU, Yale and other institutions to make demands and eradicate uncomfortable aspects of history.

“This isn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things,” Rouhier allowed. “Harry Clifton ‘Curley’ Byrd was one of the instrumental people at making the University of Maryland what it is today.  Byrd Stadium has been named after him for long time. He has done an awful lot for the university.

“The other side of this, of course, is that he was an obstructionist when it came to getting the university integrated. He had some quotes now that seem ridiculous and are obviously not OK. If anyone said them at this point, you would obviously dismiss them as someone that is racist.

“I understand discomfort with the past. You go to college, and you live in this world as an adolescent becoming a young man or woman in this society, you need to deal with this kind of thing. Closing your eyes and pretending it never happened, or renaming it to Happy Sprinkle Rainbow Town doesn’t necessarily educate you or make you a better person. To me, you need to confront things you don’t like instead of carving our a nice corner of the Internet for yourself, commenting on blogs and posts you agree with, about how stupid the other side is, and how you’re so much smarter because you went to a nice school, like Georgetown, like Yale, like Amherst or any of the other schools where kids are protesting, really without merit.

“To me, you need to confront things you don’t like instead of carving our a nice corner of the Internet for yourself, commenting on blogs and posts you agree with, about how stupid the other side is, and how you’re so much smarter because you went to a nice school, like Georgetown, like Yale, like Amherst or any of the other schools where kids are protesting, really without merit.”

Rouhier drew contrasts to other eras of political activism, in the 1950s, 60’s and 70’s. At that time, predominantly young activists were fighting against institutional racism, the use of deadly force against civilians, and use of the draft in what many perceived to be unjust wars.

“There are things you should be upset about in our world. Absolutely, be active about those things,” he said. “Trying to demand free speech while condemning speech, we’re sort of chasing our own tails here in a lot of these instances. I’m not telling students not to active or not be involved–I am. But understand your place in the universe and your place in history. Right now, you’re carving our safe spaces and whining about things that really aren’t important as you feel as though they are. I would like you to confront something difficult in your life, rather than skating through and avoiding anything that

“I’m not telling students not to active or not be involved–I am. But understand your place in the universe and your place in history. Right now, you’re carving our safe spaces and whining about things that really aren’t important as you feel as though they are. I would like you to confront something difficult in your life, rather than skating through and avoiding anything that might be challenging for you to hear.

“Just my two cents. I’m perfectly fine with changing the name of Byrd Stadium, by the way. I just don’t like the idea that we’re going to wipe away history, everything that was Maryland…just because it’s uncomfortable.”

 

 

Follow Brian Tinsman and 106.7 The Fan.

 

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