An Ivy League university like Yale should be the epitome of higher learning. Yet in these hallowed halls the ivy is browning as a petition surfaced that demanded the English Department drop Shakespeare, Chaucer, Milton, Wordsworth, John Donne, among others because studying ‘white writers’ creates a ‘hostile environment for people of color.’
Now this could be a prank. The author of the petition is anonymous. This of course means he or she can hide while watching the national media pick up the story, laughing all the way to class.
But considering the age we live in, a time in which a segment of the population, whose perception of injustice to minorities over centuries is nothing short of umbrageous hypersensitivity, then one can understand there are those who believe this an honest attempt at protest.
What purpose of dropping Shakespeare and other ‘white writers’ from the English curriculum serve? It is illogical, inane, and let’s be honest. It is racist. Racism, after all, is not the sole domain of the white race. It exists within the dark hearts of all races, nationalities, and genders.
It is not as if people of color are ignored at Yale. The most popular course, according to the article and the Fox news interview, is “Race and Gender in American Literature.” Yale also teaches classes on women writers, African-American writers, Asian writers, to name just a few other options.
I am annoyed that I even have to post a blog about a petition that is so outrageously stupid. Even if it is a prank it is stupid. I question whether the originator of the petition is even in the English program. The study of centuries dead white writers has nothing to do with race and everything to do with art. There is not one word, not one scene, not one iota of proof that the writings of these men could create any ‘hostile environment to people of color.’ One might as well argue Ray Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” shows hostility to aliens from other planets.
And nowhere is there an explanation-I repeat-nowhere in the petition is given any explanation as to why or how these writers create a hostile environment. No theory, no premise, no thoughts. Merely unpedantic demagoguery. In other words-bullshit. This is why I think it could be a prank, or a hoax.
If not, it is someone’s ill-intentioned, misinformed, unintellectual, ill thought, distorted thinking-or lack of thinking, misdirected prevarication that serves no purpose for people of any color. If the author of the petition-if that is the word for it-truly believes what he/she wrote, they do not belong at Yale. One must ask why the person is in a higher institution of earning when they show an inability for basic critical thinking. But the person does need to be institutionalized.