The Washington Post was roasted on social media over the weekend for publishing an op-ed calling for a college partially named after George Washington to change its name because he “perpetrated racial terror” without ever acknowledging the opinion was printed in a newspaper named after … well, George Washington.
Washington and Lee University School of Law assistant professor Brandon Hasbrouck penned the op-ed headlined, “Both namesakes of Washington and Lee University perpetrated racial terror. The school should be renamed.”
The professor wrote that “both George Washington and [Robert E.] Lee were perpetrators of racial terror,” and therefore, “both names should be removed.”
Hasbrouck then explained that Lee was a commander of the Confederate army and should not be honored by the school because of his treatment of Black people and the promotion of slavery. While the author believes it’s obvious that Lee’s name should come off the school, he said Washington needs to go, too.
“Some are shocked by the suggestion that Washington’s name is offensive. Yes, Washington was the country’s first president after leading the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. But Washington enslaved more than 300 Black people,” Hasbrouck wrote. “He ordered one whipped for walking on his lawn.”
The op-ed then explained how Washington and Lee University got its name, noting that it has been changed several times over the years and another change “to break ties with perpetrators of racial terror is not asking too much” of university officials.
“Since Washington and Lee University integrated in 1966, many students, administrators, support professionals and professors of color have experienced painful indignities and abuse. Too often, members of the university community have dismissed these experiences,” Hasbrouck wrote. “Some have asked why those colleagues came to an institution named after Washington and Lee, one that is home to Lee’s tomb. That is segregationist thinking and not appropriate.”
The op-ed concluded: “Reconciliation and progress come from addressing our past honestly and treating all people equally. At Washington and Lee University, it starts with the removal of both namesakes. Unless some are afraid of too much racial justice and equality.”
The author never mentioned the name of the newspaper he was writing for.
The Washington Post did not immediately respond when asked if it would consider changing its name.
The paper was widely mocked on Twitter: