Apparently, there is no end to the stupidity… especially at centers of higher learning.
In the quest for diversity, fair representation and perhaps payback, some racially-minded education reformers are now attempting to erase philosophers like Plato and Kant from the curriculum – because they are ‘white.’
Never mind that some of these minds are foundational to knowledge as we know it, or the direction of western society.
They are white.
University of London students are demanding that thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Voltaire, and Immanuel Kant be banned from the philosophy syllabus… because they are white.
UK media quotes students from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) as saying that “the majority of philosophers on our courses” should be from Africa and Asia.
“White philosophers” should be on the syllabus only “if required,” and their work should be studied from a “critical standpoint,” the statement said, as cited by British media.
It is everything that Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t stand for: judging people by the color of their skin, and not the merits of their ideas.
Moreover, the bizarre campaign is essentially encouraging deliberate ignorance of some of western cultures most central figures, Plato being a key example.
Considering the importance of thinking critically about philosophical arguments and their relevance to historical and contemporary developments, it all seems pretty dopey.
Have politically-correct liberals and whiners ruined the value of a good education once and for all, to instead replace it with ‘acceptable’ and curated views only?
via the Daily Mail:
The students say it is in order to ‘decolonise’ the ‘white institution’ that is their college.
[p]hilosopher Sir Roger Scruton lambasted the union’s demand, saying: ‘This suggests ignorance and a determination not to overcome that ignorance. You can’t rule out a whole area of intellectual endeavour without having investigated it and clearly they haven’t investigated what they mean by white philosophy…’
The vice-chancellor of Buckingham University Sir Anthony Seldon said: ‘There is a real danger political correctness is getting out of control. We need to understand the world as it was and not to rewrite history as some might like it to have been.’
The head of SOAS’s Religions and Philosophies department Erica Hunter said the union’s viewpoint was ‘rather ridiculous’, adding: ‘I would firmly resist dropping philosophers or historians just because it was fashionable.’
This is a trend that has simply gone too far. Racism is a bait-and-switch to distract people from the real sources of oppression – they want communities divided along the lines of skin color. This is the primary reason that so much attention is drawn to it.
Of course, it should come as no surprise that the non-white philosopher who these students would like to see replace ancient figures in philosopher is none other than the same anti-colonial thinker who inspired President Obama back in his radical college days.
As the Washington Post noted back in 2008, when Obama had just become the president-elect:
Barack Obama wrote in “Dreams From My Father” of his days as a student at Occidental College, groping for his political identity: “We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Frantz Fanon, Eurocentrism and patriarchy.”
What made Fanon a guru for the left was his focus on the anger and alienation of the formerly colonized people of Africa. Born in the French colony of Martinique, he studied psychiatry in France and practiced in Algeria during that country’s bloody revolt against French colonialism. Much of “The Wretched of the Earth” is empty vitriol extolling violence as a path to liberation… […] Obama is a living rebuttal to Fanon’s rage of the powerless… about to assume the most powerful job on Earth. It is Fanon’s world turned upside down.
While there are some good cases of actual racism to draw from, seeing racism everywhere in the pages of history, despite a direct link to the work of these individuals simply foolish.
And while Fanon may have a place in the class curriculum, erasing or downplaying the importance of “white” thinkers – as it happened in the world that exists, for better or worse, is not the way to create a better world.
Rewriting history creates an Orwellian society, not one free from racism and injustice.