In the United Kingdom, a group of left-wing activists has succeeded in forcing the University of Cambridge to purge all of its English courses of classic novels written by white authors. The books will be replaced by work written by “black and minority ethnic writers,” according to the British media.
The U.K. newspaper Daily Telegraph explained that “for the first time, lecturers and tutors would have to ensure the presence of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) writers on their course, under plans discussed by the English Faculty’s Teaching Forum.” The newspaper continued, “Cambridge University’s English Literature professors could replace white authors with black writers, following proposals put forward by academic staff in response to student demands to decolonize the curriculum.”
The move, which seems like it came straight out of George Orwell’s book 1984, comes on the heels of an anti-racism campaign that was started by a local student union official. Lola Olufemi, who is the student union’s “women’s officer,” started a petition called “Decolonizing the English Faculty,” which claimed that the inclusion of traditional books written by whites “elevates white male authors at the expense of all others.” (Related: A university study confirms that most minorities have never experienced discrimination of any kind.)
Imagine if a group of right-wing activists in the United Kingdom got together and forced the University of Cambridge to purge all books written by black authors. The British media, and likely even the U.S. media, would be calling the activists racists, bigots, and practically every other name under the sun – and they would deserve it. Purging all books written by black authors would be just as racist as purging all books written by white authors. The problem is, the liberals don’t see it that way at all. To them, racism is a one-way street – that is, whites discriminating against blacks, nothing more and nothing less.
Shockingly, a tri-college coalition in the state of Pennsylvania made this very argument denying the existence of reverse racism in a resource guide that was published earlier this year. The guide, which was made available to students at Haverford, Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr Colleges, included a list of terms on the topic of race. One of those terms was “reverse racism,” which ironically, the guide claims doesn’t exist.
“Reverse racism does not actually exist, because racism is a structure, and people of color do not structurally oppress white people,” the guide claims. It goes on to say that many social justice activists don’t even feel that the term “reverse racism” makes any sense because it “has a specific meaning that relates to institutionalized oppression.”
The claims that this guide makes could not be further from the truth. While it is true that historically, racism has existed in the context of whites discriminating against blacks, the actual definition of racism has nothing to do with how long it has existed or how “institutionalized” it is. On the contrary, racism is defined simply as the discrimination that is directed at someone of a different race based on the idea that one’s own race is superior. Obviously, then, racism can exist on both ends of the racial spectrum. (Related: Universities are telling students that they can’t have student unions because they are white.)
Why did the left-wing activists in the United Kingdom want to replace all English books written by white authors with books written by black authors? It seems as though they feel that it is more important for students to be exposed to the latter rather than the former, and it also seems like their push to replace white authors with black authors is motivated by some kind of disdain for non-minorities. If that isn’t a blatant example of racism, then what is?