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University of London students want white philosophers replaced with Asians, Africans

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) student union at the University of London is demanding that philosophers Plato, Descartes, and Kant should be — mostly — supplanted by those from Asia and Africa.

According to The Independent, part of the union’s new year priorities is to “address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism within our university.”

“If white philosophers were required,” one of the union’s goals reads, “their work should be taught from a ‘critical standpoint’, to acknowledge the colonial context in which many of their works were written.”

The group Black British Academics’ Deborah Gabriel said “Teaching is often based on very narrow criteria and often tends to be eurocentric. These students are calling on scholars to meet the criteria of their role to teach from different cultural contexts, it’s something we all should be doing more of.”

From the article:

However, [Gabriel] also said decolonising doesn’t necessarily equate to removing the problematic.

“I don’t believe that necessitates removing white scholars because not all white scholars espouse ideas that are narrow in context, a lot of them do engage in anti-racist teaching. Academia often draws on series that are decades old, which is what people often find problematic,” she said.

“If you remove that kind of content from the curriculum, how are you going to critique it? That is what changes attitudes and thinking by looking at past theories and how they have evolved, and looking at what is considered progressive and acceptable now.”

The SOAS “educational priorities” came amid growing calls from students across the UK to rid British universities of associations with colonialism.

The Daily Mail notes the student responsible for the “Decolonising SOAS” statement in the union’s Educational Priorities, Ali Habib, is an admirer of Marxist philosopher Frantz Fanon, author of the “seminal work of revolutionary anti-colonialism” The Wretched Of The Earth.

On Friday, philosopher Sir Roger Scruton responded to the union’s demands 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.”

Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of Buckingham University added ‘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 SOAS is Europe’s largest institution dedicated to African, Asian, and Middle East studies.

Read the full Independent and Daily Mail pieces.

MORE: Science should be ‘scratched’ — because ‘colonization and racism’

MORE: Because Eurocentrism, univ. hires social justice expert to help lead campus

MORE: Philosophy prof says homosexuality ‘disability,’ Christian conf. condemns him

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  • Tjwag

    Um, we are talking about Abraham Lincoln, the President who freed the slaves among other things, no?

    • DavefromMinn

      Madison wackos are funny.

    • Ragoftag

      No. He freed not the first slave. Actual historians (not revisionists) would laugh at the thought. The slaves were freed by the 13A. US law allowed the dispossessed slave owners to sue for the return of property (Slaves) the same as land, money, etc. Even the Lee family won rights to Arlington in the US Supreme Court after the war. The thieves had to buy it from the family and give permission to bury Confederates on the grounds.

      The 13A was a slap in the face of private property that violated so much of US law that it had to be an Amendment to survive. Only by impoverishing the South further could the industrialists who backed the invasion get satisfaction. That is why no protections of the freedmen was included.

      • Tjwag

        Oh, well, clearly then we should destroy any statues or paintings of this horrible man, strike his name from all history books and turn him over to Antifa to burn in effigy!
        There, you win.

        • Ragoftag

          No, the self righteous should get educated and learn that he never freed one slave. He even wanted to ship them all back to Africa, that land were they had been enslaved originally. Kind of like children’s services putting an abused child back with the abuser. Real humanitarian soul. Rip these AMERICANS from hearth and home and dump them in the arms of hostile stone age savages? Damn! Now that is EVIL.

      • SeanusAurelius

        It was keeping people as property that should have been illegal in the first place. Slaves were denied their 1A rights of freedom of speech and assembly, not to mention equal protection under the law. The 13A drove a stake through the illogical, evil and liberty-defying vampiric heart of slavery.

        • Ragoftag

          I suppose you prefer killing prisoners outright? That is what was done.

          Logic: prisoners taken in war were down to few options, slavery was the second most favorable and seen as compensation to the victors.

          Evil: Are you even remotely serious? I’ll dodge all the ‘moral, evil, law, etc.’, to pose this: Would it have been better to have killed the prisoners taken in war 5k years ago? It costs money to feed them in a prison. You can’t let them go home with revenge for their defeat on their minds. The victors considered work to be a suitable compensation for making them go to war, regardless of whether that conflict was justified. Stripping the owners of everything and not even setting the freedmen up to survive was a great solution that came from Lincoln, one that cursed Blacks to a century of poverty and oppression. My slave owning ancestors set up each former slave with 40 acres of their lands out of their own hearts. No mule, that was Unionist propaganda. The 40 acres was the same amount of land the original settler got from the King, btw. The only two mules he had were shared among all. Thanksgiving of 1960 or ’61, I helped delivery my grandma’s turkeys to each of those farms and a special, diced plate to the last slave born, nearly 100 and toothless. No, Evil was Sherman destroying every industry that would have employed former slaves as late as 1867. Evil was the Union army enslaving free born blacks to work stolen plantations around New Orleans, not releasing them till 1877 and torching most infrastructure, including store houses full of food, as they left.

          Liberty-defying: I think you mean ‘liberty denying’, and that would encompass so much of life today. Debt, an hour’s honest work for honest compensation, traffic laws, laws that keep me from using your house while you’re on vacation…

          Vampiric: Like unjust taxation and wealth transfer to those who choose not to work? Enforced by 14 government thugs in IRS jackets pulling a ‘heist’ for a sum of less than a dollar? The American style of slavery was cradle to grave socialism in one of only two times it ever worked. Most owners saw the economics of treating slaves well and took care of that investment. No one dared raise a hand against a slave, they took it up with the owner. That was part of why duels continued for so long (An ancestor ‘won’ six duels, three over slaves complaints from ‘trash/po’ whites), and were accepted.

          You might want to go look up the term ‘sold south’ as a start.

          • SeanusAurelius

            You can have people as property or you can have liberty as an inalienable right. Pick one.

            The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights endowed upon people by their creator, God.
            As liberty is an inalienable right, people can’t be property. That is simply logical.

            It was a good thing that the USA eventually stopped excepting black people from the general principle, there never was any logic to that exception.

            As for the rest of your essay, I’m deeply conservative and hate socialism. But the reason I hate it is because socialism is incompatible with liberty. Just like slave owning is incompatible with liberty.

  • Ralph Kern

    Most “native American” cultures regularly took slaves … and tortured them and other captives. Slavery is apparently only bad if light skinned folks do it.

  • Yankiboy

    There are fruitcakes, flakes, and overenthusiastic freedom fighters on
    every damn campus in the land. At UW(M), at least, “UW Board of Regents
    approves policy to suspend students for disrupting campus speakers”
    (https://badgerherald.com/news/2017/10/07/uw-board-of-regents-approves-policy-to-suspend-students-for-disrupting-campus-speakers/).

    ON, WISCONSIN!!