Editor’s note: The university has released a statement, denying Hook advocated for suicide. Read our analysis and the full statements here.
He defended a proposition by a fellow professor
Duquesne University Professor Derek Hook said there are merits to the argument proposed by another professor who argued that it would be ethical for white people to kill themselves.
The anti-critical race theory group Mythinformed MKE posted the video recently. “This is part of an ‘anti-racist’ discussion on ‘nice white therapists held by the [American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work],” the group wrote on Facebook. The video appears to be from a summer session hosted by Hook, though the content is not otherwise publicly available.
“White people should commit suicide as an ethical act,” the top of a presentation by Hook said.
He quoted from a South African philosophy professor named Terblanche Delport, who wrote in 2016 about white people killing themselves.
Delport allegedly made similar comments in 2016, in reaction to racial division in the former apartheid state.
Professor of Psychology at Duquesne University Derek Hook, defends the quote “white people should commit suicide as an ethical act” as an “opportunity” to “castrate whiteness”.
This is part of an “anti-racist” discussion on “nice white therapists” held by AAPCSW. pic.twitter.com/IL839IjUCV
— Mythinformed MKE (@MythinformedMKE) August 25, 2021
“[T]he only (life) purpose for whites, specifically Afrikaners, is to await their death or to commit suicide, like the sumarai falls on his short sword when he has fallen into disgrace,” Delport said, according to Radio Free South Africa.
“Here’s the kind of crazy gambit of this talk,” Hook said. “I want to suggest that psychoanalytically we could even make the argument that there was something ethical in Delport’s statements.”
While Hook concedes that Delport might just be a “fighter” who is too aggressive in his arguments, he doesn’t want to dismiss the concept of white people killing themselves to atone for racism.
He also suggests that symbolically white people could kill themselves or undergo “[metaphorical] castration.”
“I want to make the argument that there is some kind of ethical dimension to his provocations,” the Duquesne professor said.
“I think Delport took his white audience to the threshold of a type of symbolic extinction…he took them to a proposed end of whiteness,” Hook said.
Delport is a “scholar and a practitioner of psychoanalysis with expertise in the areas of Lacanian psychoanalysis, post-colonial theory (the work of Frantz Fanon in particular), the psychology of racism and critical social psychology,” according to his university bio.
The American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work is a liberal group that previously called on President Trump to resign days before his term in office ended due to the violence at the Capitol.
The group “believes that Donald Trump’s presidential powers must be immediately revoked,” according to a January 13 statement. “He has demonstrated an exploitation of such powers through the consistent promotion of racist groups and ideologies.”
IMAGE: Mythinformed MKE/Twitter