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"Falsehoods, Fallacies and Fakery": article draft by Roosevelt Fitzgerald




1980 (year approximate) to 1995 (year approximate)


From the Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers (MS-01082) -- Drafts for the Las Vegas Sentinel Voice file. On Dumas, Tamarillo, and Afrocentric history curriculum.

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man000981. Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers, 1890-1996. MS-01082. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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"His father had been one of Napoleon Bonaparte's best generals. And as if that were still not enough drama, that general had had a Negro slavewoman for a mother. And a French marquis for a father!"
"In his Memoirs he would claim that his fair-skinned and blue-eyed complexion was due to his father's having forced his mother to drink plenty of brandy while she was pregnant, so that it was not until he was fifteen that his complexion turned dark and his hair became frizzy. His eyes, however, naturally remaining bright blue all his life."
"Little is said nowadays about Dumas's Negro ancestry. But his contemporaries did not spare him. Balzac, a rival serial writer, referred to Dumas as 'that Negro.' Tricks were played on him--circus Negroes from the United States being bribed once to swarm about him with cries of: 'Cousin! Dear Cousin!' And his literary enemies parodying him under the name of Dumasnoir, which sounds like a perfectly good French name, but can be resolved into Dumas noir, Duma.s black. And this word black being the same as Negro, which in French is also the word for ghost writer--Dumas being often under attack for his supposed (and actual) use of ghost writers, exaggerated by some, denied by others."
"Dumas was in general a good sport about these aspersions. So that even his son permitted himself this remark; 'My father is so vain that he is capable of hitching behind his own carriage in order to make people believe that he is rich enough to afford a Negro footman."
Long before television came along with reruns, the movie theaters had re-releases. A generation ago, when films did not have to remain in town for months and months so as to allow everyone a channce to see them, due to the nature and sparseness of populations in small towns, there was a need for re-releases. I saw many of the films of the 1930s and 1940s
when I was a child. I particularly liked those of the cowboy, army, detective and swordfighter genres. Of the latter category, among the more popular films of the times were "The Count of Monte Cristo" first released in 1934 and four subsequent productions/'The Man In the Iron Mask" first released in 1939 and remade in 1977,"The Three Musketeers" 1935 and innumerable later productions, "The Man In The Iron Mask" 1929 and at least two subsequent productions and "The Corsican Brothers" 1941. All of these films had one thing in common; they were based on stories written by Alexandre Dumas.
Each time I viewed those films, long ago, Dumas's name appeared on the screen. I, like many others, assumed that Dumas was as French as was his name. If I had had half a brain back in those days I would not have jumped so easily to that conclusion. After all, my name is Fitzgerald and, according to all accounts, I am not Irish.
Names are very misleading. Before I saw his picture, I thought Orlando Cepeda, the former baseball player, was Hispanic. While he was that culturally, racially he was African. Norbert Rilleux, who invented a sugar refining process, name is French but he is African. Jan Earnst Metzler, who invented a shoe making machine had a German name but he too was of African ancestry. The list could go on and on. There are still a number of people who have not discovered that the name of a person does not necessarily represent their racial heritage. Take Ralph Tammariello editorial page editor of the Review-Journal for example.
On February 3, 1991, he wrote a column titled "In defense of politically incorrect dead, white males." His opening paragraph states; "On campus, politically correct students and faculty have launched a crusade to purge the curriculum of 'dweems'—dead, white males." In that category he casts Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Faulkner, Conrad, and Dumas. I think its about time that Tammariello learned that Dumas is not a "dweem."
There's more. His article goes on to attack Third World authors. It appears that in his desire to continue to "marvel at the works of dweems," he feels compelled to attack all others. In making his attacks, he infers that Third World people are condemnatory of writers of European ancestry. Such comments bring greater credence to the recent scientific theory that the minds of men deteriorate at a greater pace than those of women.
I enjoy reading Conrad. One of my favorite books is Lord Jim. Several weeks ago, in an interview appearing in the Review-Journal, I was quoted as saying that my favorite book of all time is The Prince. Most educated people that I know have read and enjoyed Shakespeare, Chaucer, Hugo, Whitman, Ovid, Melville, Wordsworth, Coleridge,Tennyson,Flaubert, Yeats, Kafka, Eliot, Solzhenitsyn, Camus, Voltaire, and many, many others. What Tammariello does with his allegations is what psychologists call, I believe, projection. Because his view is so narrow that he can only see value in that which is done by Europeans, he seem to assume that those who are not European can only see value in that which is not European. Its too bad that he limits himself. But this is part of the larger problem. There are a lot of narrow viewed people in this country—nativists all.
Just as I thought it was safe to go back into the newspaper, lo and behold, on March 31, 1991, Tammariello outdid himself with yet another article which is its own best rebuke. In his "Western civilization and all others have blood on hands" piece, he attacks something which needs encouragement; "Afrocentric" history curriculum. He writes; "Afrocentricm is an approach to college and high school education that emphasizes the importance and cultural achievements of ancient and modern African societies." He then goes on to tell us of barbaric things which Africans and American blacks and Native Americans, Asians, Hispanic and Islamic groups have done. What's the point? No one has said or suggested that those groups are saints. Much of the
negative things about those groups have traditionally appeared in textbooks
magazines, television and other mediums of massRiediaI By his own testimony the Afrocnetric history curriculum seeks to "emphaziae the importance and cultural achievements of ancient and modern African societies.1] That is the objective of other groups which have been excluded in school curricula.
I would suggest that heEnot use Amerigo Vespucci as a source. I will not attempt to educate him about Vespucci but he might want to do some reading of the works of Wilburn E. Washburn. Kle seem to know little about religious competition especially during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. He seem also to have forgotten about the Inquisition.
Tammariel1o1s most outrageous statement is: "One theme these ethnocentric approaches have in common is a desire to dismiss Western Europeanbased culture as inherently racist, sexist and ciassist." He begins to sound like Chief Gates in Los Angeles. No reasonable person has ever said that all policemen are bad. The same is true in that Third World people do not think all white people are racists. Once again we have projection. He seem to think that simply because he is unreasonable that all Third World people are that way too.J
Even though most of us are informed well enough not to buy into whatever it is he is selling, and I'm sure it is not racism, he shouldn't feel too badly--he has at least one admirerc.Pat Buchannan.