Daily Mail

It is a typical tabloid press outcry of ‘political correctness gone mad‘ – and as usual it is not true.

This weekend the Mail on Sunday claimed that university students from London were ‘demanding’ that philosophers be dropped from the curriculum ‘because they were white’.

Naturally the story was picked up the Telegraph and others with the same claim repeated without nuance: ‘Ditch white philosophers‘.

Except its not true.

The student body which called for a change said last night the press coverage was a “gross misrepresentation“.

No surprise there then. They added:

We are not asking for thinkers to be removed, but to be studied in their appropriate contexts and for our curricula to encompass perspectives which reflect the diversity of the world we live in. We do not seek to limit access to knowledge but instead interrogate the ways knowledge is produced and taught. This is not the gagging of free speech or free thought but exactly the opposite, a call to open up our syllabuses by campaigning for a critical examination of colonial histories and how these have led to the construction of our curricula today.

Students demanding more critical thinking? Shock horror!

Students at the School of Oriental and African Studies asking for more African and Asian philosophers to be included in their studies? Whatever next!

According to the students, no one has called for white philosophers to be dropped.

All they did was ask for more diversity in their curriculum, and more critical thinking about how philosophers came to their thinking.

And, according to academic Tom Whyman at the Guardian:

Even at its most extreme, all the SOAS students’ union demands (and note that their demand has no binding force whatsoever) is that European philosophers only be taught in preference to African and Asian ones when necessary. Adopting this principle, if it turns out that say, Kant, has expressed some insight that is vital for understanding some aspect of reality, then he should be allowed to remain in the curriculum.

What exactly is wrong with that?

The real ‘snowflakes’ aren’t the students but tabloid editors who can’t handle the idea of non-white philosophers.

There is no controversy here

  1. Why are we surprised at the silly Tabloids??? But the Telegraph too…? That is sad…I saw this topic covered on Newsnight this week and the black lecturer made a perfectly reasoned (and evidenced) argument, leaving the white lecturer stumped: there is no denying white philosophers get credit when others don’t. Time to establish balance…

  2. Hugh McLoughlin says:

    When these students have studied the curricula set for them and have progressed their knowledge and understanding to the point that they are entitled to apply to be accepted, and are accepted, as faculty members then and only then can they seek to dictate what and what is not in the syllabus.

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