Former Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb slammed criticism of Andrew Jackson in light of the Treasury Department’s announcement last week that it would replace the former president’s image on the $20 bill with that of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, suggesting that coverage of Jackson’s time as president has fallen prey to a culture of political correctness and a “myth of universal white privilege.”
Writing in an op-ed for The Washington Post published Sunday evening, the former Virginia senator criticized the newspaper itself for summing up Jackson’s “legendary tenure” as being “known primarily for a brutal genocidal campaign against native Americans.” That characterization, Webb wrote, “offers an indication of how far political correctness has invaded our educational system and skewed our national consciousness.”
“This dismissive characterization of one of our great presidents is not occurring in a vacuum,” Webb wrote. “Any white person whose ancestral relations trace to the American South now risks being characterized as having roots based on bigotry and undeserved privilege. Meanwhile, race relations are at their worst point in decades.”
Webb commented that the most “important discussions are being debated emotionally, without full regard for historical facts.”
“The myth of universal white privilege and universal disadvantage among racial minorities has become a mantra, even though white and minority cultures alike vary greatly in their ethnic and geographic origins, in their experiences in the United States and in their educational and financial well-being,” he continued.
Like Alexander Hamilton, late of Broadway fame, Webb remarked that Jackson, too, was a “brilliant orphan.”