Students at the prestigious University of London have demanded that philosophers who have long been titans of thought should be removed from their curriculum simply because they are white.
Immanuel Kant, Plato, Descartes, and Bertrand Russell, among others, though being cornerstones to the current thinking of civilization, are apparently too white for the student union representing the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.
According to the SOAS, when studying philosophy, “the majority of philosophers on our courses” should be from Africa and Asia. They claim that that this is an attempt to “decolonize” the “white institution” that is the University of London.
The Daily Mail explains that current philosopher Sir Roger Scruton lambasted the union’s idea, 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. If they think there is a colonial context from which Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason arose, I would like to hear it.”
The Daily Mail also reported that the the vice-chancellor of Buckingham University Sir Anthony Seldon said that “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.”
In the SOAS’s release of “educational priorities” aptly titled “Decolonising SOAS: Confronting The White Institution,” they warn that “white philosophers” should be studied only “if required” and that if they are taught, it should only be taught from a “critical standpoint.” The SOAS explained, “For example, acknowledging the colonial context in which so-called “Enlightenment” philosophers wrote within.”
The Telegraph reports that Erica Hunter, head of SOAS’s Religions and Philosophies department, said the union’s viewpoint was “rather ridiculous,” adding, “I would firmly resist dropping philosophers or historians just because it was fashionable.”
Ali Habib, the Democracy and Education Union Officer responsible for the statement, told the student newspaper that he is an admirer of Frantz Fanon, the Martinique-born Marxist thinker whose book “The Wretched Of The Earth” is a seminal work of revolutionary anti-colonialism, according to the Daily Mail.
When asked for comment, Habib declined, says The Daily Mail.
In philosophers such as Kant, Descartes, Plato and others, we have the basis for the thought of current civilization. The titans have helped shape curriculum and critical thinking skills in philosophy classes worldwide for centuries and while their ideas are not impermeable to intellectual challenges or debate, what they should be impermeable from is censorship due to political correctness.