These days it’s rather difficult to decipher parody from reality when it comes to the utterances of progressive college students.
Reason’s Robby Soave reports that at South Africa’s University of Cape Town this past week, students known as “Fallists,” which stands for (hashtag) “Science Must Fall,” told university officials that “the whole thing” — as in science — “should scratched off, especially in Africa.”
“How do we even start to decolonize science?” a Fallist panelist asks those assembled.
She follows up by saying that if one is “personally committed to enforcing decolonization,” since science is a “product of racism,” it all “should be scratched off.”
It’s hard to tell if the burst of crowd laughter that follows this statement is from disbelief … or out of uncomfortable politeness.
Essentially, these students believe that modern scientific understanding is too Eurocentric. One explained:
“I have a question for all the science people. There is a place in KZN called Umhlab’uyalingana. They believe that through the magic’ you call it black magic’ they call it witchcraft’ you are able to send lightening to strike someone. Can you explain that scientifically because it’s something that happens?”
Many people laughed at this remark because, well, witchcraft is not something that happens. But according to the student, witchcraft is like Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity—it’s just one way of explaining the world, among many.
“Decolonising the science would mean doing away with it entirely and starting all over again to deal with how we respond to the environment and how we understand it,” the student continued.
But don’t laugh too hard — they’re dead serious. Watch as one of the Fallist panelists admonishes an audience member — asking for an apology, and reminding everyone of the rules and the fact that the room is a safe “progressive space”:
“If you’re not going to do that, I would ask that you remove yourself from this space,” she adds.
Her colleague follows up by criticizing such “antagonistic” reactions, and noting that Fallists are “going to decolonize” by utilizing “knowledge produced by us … that speaks to us, and that is able to accommodate knowledge from our perspective.”
The smartest thing she said was that she is “not on the science faculty.” That is patently obvious.