Oxford University: Delirious capital of political correctness
By Giulio Meotti / Gatestone Institute
“Don’t feel guilty about our colonial history”, Oxford Professor Nigel Biggar titled a column in The Times. He asked his colleagues and students to have “pride” in many aspects of their imperialist past:
“Pride at the Royal Navy’s century-long suppression of the Atlantic slave trade, for example, will not be entirely obscured by shame at the slaughter of innocents at Amritsar in 1919. And while we might well be moved to think with care about how to intervene abroad successfully, we won’t simply abandon the world to its own devices”.
Dozens of Oxford academics immediately united to condemn the “simple-minded” defense of British colonialism by the professor. Student associations also branded Biggar a “racist” and a “bigot”, and asked the university to suspend him. Trevor Phillips, former chair of the UK Equalities and Human Rights Commission, saidthat Biggar’s critics are using “an attack line of which Joseph Stalin would have been proud”. Its goal, in fact, seems the moral destruction of the intellectual adversary.
Biggar’s case illustrates the atmosphere in Oxford, the West’s capital of political correctness. Oxford’s students and professors are the leaders of a movement which, under the guise of “anti-racism”, is closing the Western mind and killing the Western culture with dogmatism, tribalism, anti-intellectualism and groupthink. All this indoctrinating has led only to a militant loathing of the Western past and a public revulsion for humanistic Western values, culture and the ability at least to try to correct our wrongs — as only the West does. Students and professors are now unable to explain why a culture that treats women and men equally or that protects freedom of thought is superior to a culture that subjugates women and oppresses individual choice.
Oxford now preaches the cult of “diversity”. But the true diversity for which a university should fight — the diversity of opinion and thought — is continually eroded and often completely destroyed. Roger Scruton, in an article for The Times, defined what is happening at Oxford as an “indoctrination without doctrine” and has charged Western universities with reviving the notion of “heresy”.
A series of hagiographic portraits of former students now appears on the walls of Britain’s most famous university. The initiative is part of Oxford’s “Diversifying Portraiture“. The university had been criticized for “lack of racial diversity”. So now, in the name of the multiculturally correct view, Oxford has purged “male, pale and stale” with gay, female and black icons. If you think about it honestly, that is racist.
For almost a year, Oxford University debated whether to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from campus, because of his links to slavery and colonialism. Rhodes’s statue was not dismantled, but a plaque commemorating Rhodes on Oxford’s Oriel College was removed from public view.
Besides statues and portraits, the multiculturalists have targeted the curriculum. Malia Bouattia, when she was head of the UK National Union of Students, declaredthat a “Eurocentric” curriculum had a “psychologically devastating” impact on black students.
In November 2017, Oxford’s Magdalen College announced that it will introduce mandatory courses for first-year newcomers on “institutional racism, cultural appropriation and implicit bias,” to ensure that ethnic minorities do not feel “offended”.
Oxford also announced that history students would be required to write “at least one exam paper focusing on black, Asian and other non-European history,” to balance the “white” curriculum. Shortly before that, for the first time in 800 years, Oxford University eliminated the obligatory course on Christianity for theology students. Oxford’s multicultural political correctness looks as if has come right out of George Orwell’s “1984”.
This frightening racist wave of institutional “anti-racism” is also trying to reprogram the students’ private habits. The Oxford Equality and Diversity Unit, which monitors respect for the canons of “anti-racism,” has ruled that not looking into the eyes of a student belonging to a minority constitutes a “microaggression” that can lead to “mental disorder”. Joanna Williams, a university lecturer at the University of Kent, said that the Oxford decision is “completely ridiculous” and will make students “hypersensitive” about how they interact with each other. Williams labeled it a “thought crime”.
Even the Oxford Dictionary, the most complete catalogue of words ever written in any language, has been purged of some words deemed “offensive“. The dictionary came under pressure from some feminists, apparently impatient that the voice that describes them there also lists connotations such as “rabid”. Oxford even banned from the Freshers’ Fair the Christian Union, one of the largest student associations. Oxford charged it with “homophobia and certain forms of neo-colonialism”. This atmosphere spurred Oxford’s Professor Timothy Garton Ash to announce that at British universities today, “Jesus Christ would be banned“.
Perhaps we now understand why Philip Larkin refused to teach at Oxford. He wrote: “My idea of hell on earth is a literary party, and I have an uneasy feeling that the post carries with it a lot of sherry-drill with important people”.
Multiculturalists, in the name of “diversity”, are turning Western culture into a hell. At the end of this road, Western culture will be unrecognizable and no one will want to fight for it. Will this delirium please stop?
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author. Copyrighted materials is republished here with the permission of the Gatestone Institute.