Santa Cruz caves to PC Luddites, removing famed mission bell
Political correctness is back, this time to uglify the California landscape, not only erasing a marker of its unique Spanish heritage, but going all out to genericize and corporatize it.
I'm writing this as a native Californian and I am disgusted. The PC Luddites in this one-party state have forced the University of Santa Cruz to remove a pair of old mission bells placed there in 1905 as markers for California's historic El Camino Real highway, which had been used by the Spanish conquistadores to explore and settle California. Seems someone got triggered and UCSC's leftist administrators jumped through their hoops like trained seals.
Here's what Campus Reform found:
A year after students began a petition to remove the traditional California “mission bell” from campus, the University of California Santa Cruz has capitulated to demands, announcing Friday that the bell will be removed.
California mission bells mark the path of the historic El Camino Real, the 700-mile trail that connected the 21 California Spanish missions. The bells are a common way of recognizing state history and have marked the route of the El Camino Real since 1906. Hundreds of them line the trail to this day.
However, in UCSC's announcement of its decision, the university emphasized that the bells are “viewed by many populations as a symbol of racism and dehumanization of their ancestors.”
The university administration has communicated with Valentin Lopez, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band chairman, who called the bells “deeply painful symbols that celebrate the destruction, domination and erasure of our people.”
“They are constant reminders of the disrespect our tribe faces to this day,” he added.
UCSC Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services Sarah Latham said that Lopez’s comments were “such a compelling statement of impact,” adding that she is “pleased” at the university’s ability to “work in partnership” with the band toward the removal of the bell."
It's also rather a slight on Santa Cruz's students of Latino and Spanish descent. Haven't the Spanish been erased enough from the political correctness handbook? There's been a lot of criticism for the already ongoing erasure of California's original Spanish inhabitants, the ranching Californios who joined the Americans in helping to secure the state's independence from Mexico. Walk along Malibu beach and it's possible to find hard-to-spot placards about how these Californios managed to skirt around colonial Mexico's unreasonable demand that they trade for basic necessities such as food and cloth and spices solely through Mexico City. The Californios used to sneak Manila galleons and other ships that traversed through Asia filled with tradeables to secret offloading ports up the California coast to get the supplies they needed all the time. Understanding this goes a long way towards explaining why California became independent of Mexico. And yes, students of Mexican and Spanish descent ought to be able to point to such markers with pride.
Another one of course is the matter at hand, the effort to mark El Camino Real, the hot dusty trail taken under perilous conditions by Spanish soldiers and monks in the 18th century to establish a series of missions, with bells in 1905. El Camino Real was created by Spanish soldiers and walked by notables such a the utterly fearless Padre Junipero Serra, California's tough little founding father who made his long treks on an wounded foot.
The left uses Serra to claim that Indians were victims of genocide, but based on the response from real Indians to his recent canonization as a Catholic saint, that's baloney. Indians have told the press they were very fond of him. And plenty of them understand why because they know the real history. Serra's mission was to train the Indians in organized missions, most importantly from his perspective, to keep the Spanish from slaughtering them. He'd seen that done before in other parts of the Spanish empire and he wanted the Spanish to recognize the Indians in California as valuable contributors. His missions weren't a perfect solution but they made sense to the Spanish at the time, and they certainly explain now why the Native Americans of California aren't a distant memory today. The Indians stayed alive.
Meanwhile, the mission bells set up in 1905 to commemorate the Spanish settlement trail and now being taken down have a storied heritage of their own: They were placed there as a part of the state's most important architectural movement, its Mission Revival of 1880-1930 or so. The distinctive architecture of Stanford University, San Diego's Santa Fe Rail Station, Los Angeles's Union Rail Station, and Beverly Hills's Church of the Good Shepherd are some of the finest examples of Mission Revival, which was the then-growing state's effort to solidify a California identity, creating a distinctive architectural look quite unlike any other state's. The revival succeeded, making the state unique and distinct in style, based on the simple, Catalonian-inspired yet indigenously adapted architecture of Serra's original mission, which incidentally was quite different from Mexico's baroque and rococo Churrigueresque creations.
So now we have the PC Luddites at work, striving to get rid of any unique heritage California may have and seeking to turn California into a place no different from the most generic of America's cities. They're not proposing to add anything and rest assured if they did, it would be for something evanescent if not ugly. They just want to wreck all that is beautiful and unique about California. Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom is busy stoking their iconoclasm, their bid to erase all history from the state, by publicly apologizing to the Indians in the name of the rest of us.
It's bad stuff, and don't think it's going to end in Santa Cruz. The left will stop at nothing towards erasing all memory of California's history, After that, it intends,as Pol Pot once did in Cambodia, to build a society from the ground up. It won't end the way they think it will end. Construction of a Better World never does. Look forward to some new avenues of ugliness, well beyond homelessness and decay to trash up California.