Tom and I get together for coffee each Saturday, and sometimes during the week. Not long ago we talked about my recent article on American Eurocentricity. He did not think it would go over well with some of the faculty at one of our local colleges because they have climbed into a cupboard reserved for those who have developed a great distaste for anything that bespeaks of white male supremacy, by which they mean all of those dead white males whose words and deeds are the proximate cause of all things bad in American history, and all those living white males who refuse to repudiate them. It’s a little weird since most of them are white males, or closely related to one. I suppose they are trying to correct the chauvinistic romanticism attached to stories about how America was settled and the West was won by doing what they can to blot it out through indignant self righteousness, replacing it with other romantic stories that continue to obscure reality.
It strikes me as a case of those who wear the academic hood of intellectual white privilege trying to turn it inside out to look more like a hair shirt as they proudly beat their chests crying mea culpa, hoping to receive absolution for the sins of generations past, while simultaneously condemning anyone who doesn’t join in their chorus. I trust it’s simply a college fad that will soon pass so that the academy (at least our local version of it) can get on with serious business. In the meantime, in their bumbling sort of way they may stimulate a needed corrective, so it might turn out OK.