Err, right, right,

They are said to be the founding fathers of Western philosophy, whose ideas underpin civilized society.

But students at a prestigious London university are demanding that such figures as Plato, Descartes and Immanuel Kant be largely dropped from the curriculum because they are white.

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)’s student union is insisting that when studying philosophy, “the majority of philosophers on our courses” should be from Africa and Asia.

They say it is part of wider campaign to “decolonize” the university, as they seek to “address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism.”

And how colonialist is it to come to the old colonial capital city to study those dusty, possibly dusky, outposts?

A truly non-colonial education would take place in Harare, Yangon, wouldn’t it?

40 thoughts on “Err, right, right,”

  1. Given that SOAS made its money churning out barely literate chip-on-both-shoulders activists, I can’t say I’m too terribly concerned to see them bitten by the vipers they’ve clasped to their bosom.

    More popcorn, anyone? *munches*

  2. ” “the majority of philosophers on our courses” should be from Africa and Asia.”

    When they can feed their children, the cultures of Africa & Asia might have something worth paying attention to.

  3. JuliaM

    Originally SOAS was for spies and colonial administrators. Sadly now populated with Marxists.


    I cannot think of a single African philosopher, excepting Averroes and Ibn Khladun, who were Arabs.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    SOAS used to teach students about African and Asian thinkers. Using the term loosely when applied to Africa and most of Asia. As it was in the job of training colonial officials. You had to know what would upset the Fuzzy Wuzzies to rule them properly.

    These days? Hardly worth the space really. The great thing is that they could fit every modern African and Asian thinker into a single term in a single year and still have time to study Beyonce’s form. Apart from Fanon and perhaps Malcolm X who could pass as a thinker among this group? Perhaps Ali Shariati and Khomeini. Maududi and Qutb. Mao? Who else?

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    ken – “I cannot think of a single African philosopher, excepting Averroes and Ibn Khladun, who were Arabs.”

    Saint Augustine?

  6. Close the place down. After expelling all the students, first from the school and then from the UK.

    Without any refunds , That goes without saying.

  7. “Saint Augustine?”

    Though racially Berber, he was culturally Roman. As an early ‘coconut’, he definitely would not be popular at SOAS.

  8. Ecks, your Purge sounds more sensible and measured with every week that passes. Truly, these are the End Times.

    These muppets have had at least a term to wrap their brains around the idea of critical thinking. They are still mired in identitarian dogmatism, so clearly pissing away the next 3 years.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    Theophrastus – “Though racially Berber, he was culturally Roman. As an early ‘coconut’, he definitely would not be popular at SOAS.”

    I don’t know. Nehru used to be pretty popular.

    Both Averroes and Ibn Khaldun claimed Arab origin – via Spain. Averroes was even born there. Whether or not they were Arabs by descent is another matter.

    Still Wikipedia does not have a page or a category for African philosophers. It does have one for African philosophy:

    It starts off insane, then gets itself together again, before wandering off into the sterile desert lands of idiocy. I did like this though:

    In Southern Africa and Southeast Africa the development of a distinctive Bantu philosophy addressing the nature of existence, the cosmos and humankind’s relation to the world following the Bantu migration has had the most significant impact on the philosophical developments of Southeast Africa and Southern Africa, with the development of the philosophy of Ubuntu as one notable example emerging from this worldview.

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    Ironman – “I can’t think, therefore I am a SOAS undergraduate.”

    But you can text sub-literate obscene abuse on your mobile phone. You must be the head of the Student Union.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    I am enjoying a little bit of curiosity about African philosophy. This gem for instance:

    He is an expert in the Palaver (politics) and other indigenous forms of African democracy. He participated in the Sovereign National Conference, held from 1990 through 1992 in Zaire. In 1997 he co-authored with Jacques Depelchin, the African Declaration Against Genocide.
    At the beginning of the Second Congo War against the government of Laurent-Désiré Kabila, he was unanimously elected head of the rebel Rally for Congolese Democracy, which was backed by Uganda and Rwanda and based in the town of Goma. However, the RCD gradually tore in two from November 1998 until 16 May 1999, as it became clear that Rwanda and its supporters goals were limited to replacement of Kabila. Several attempts were made on Wamba’s life during this period, coinciding with attempts to destroy his political power in the RCD.

    On 16 May 1999, Émile Ilunga was named the new head of the RCD after maneuvering by Rwanda, and Wamba fled to the Ugandan-controlled town of Kisangani. The faction of the RCD he maintained control of was variously known as the Movement for Liberation (RCD-ML), RCD-Kisangani, or RCD-Wamba. The main faction is sometimes referred to as RCD-Goma. The two factions shortly engaged in fierce battles in Kisangani, following which Wamba retreated to Bunia in the Ituri region of the northeastern DRC.

    Wamba was faced with an internal revolt by Mbusa Nyamwisi, leading to another split that left Wamba. His organization remained known as the RCD-Kisangani (RCD-K), but the Nyamwisi-led group was known as the RCD-ML. In 2001, Wamba denounced a Ugandan proposal to unite the RCD-K, RCD-ML and Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) as an unwelcome foreign imposition. The further disintegration of the RCD-K to the point it was without any significant military force may have been the result of Ugandan withdrawal of its support.

    Good thing he is in favour of African-styles of democracy and against genocide or that Second Congo War might have turned out really badly.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    More deep thinkers from the world of African philosophy:

    He is generally considered to be the Edward Saïd of African studies, notably for his major book The Invention of Africa (1988), a work widely regarded to be as significant to the field of African studies as Saïd’s Orientalism (1978) has been to postcolonial studies. A considerable body of work has been devoted to Mudimbe’s publications.

    So there you go. Africa is a European colonial construct. So we can ignore it because it does not exist. Re-hashing bad ideas from a decade early – but Blacking them up a little – is enough to get you a teaching gig at Stanford? So much for Stanford.

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    You have to have a heart of stone not to laugh:

    His novel A Grain of Wheat (1967) marked his embrace of Fanonist Marxism. He subsequently renounced English, Christianity, and the name James Ngugi as colonialist; he changed his name back to Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, and began to write in his native Gikuyu and Swahili.
    On 8 August 2004, Ngũgĩ returned to Kenya as part of a month-long tour of East Africa. On 11 August, robbers broke into his high-security apartment: they assaulted Ngũgĩ, sexually assaulted his wife and stole various items of value.[13] Since then, Ngũgĩ has returned to America, and in the summer 2006 the American publishing firm Random House published his first new novel in nearly two decades, Wizard of the Crow, translated to English from Gikuyu by the author.

    So does the fact that he translated his novel into English mean that he has renounced his Afro-centric view of the colonial language? It would be interesting to know actually. Has anyone asked him what he feels about the fact that he cannot even visit his homeland without being robbed and his wife raped? How cruel it is he has to live in the horrid racist West?

    I think I have changed my mind. It would do the students of SOAS no end of good to study African philosophy.

  14. I thought that the sort of bozos who make crap arguments like this think that Plato was just purveying black man’s wisdom anyway. And they believe Moses was black, so the Old Testament must be OK: is that right? It’s hard to keep up with the irrationalists sometime.

    Meantime, are the University of London’s mathematicians and physicists going to do without the work of white men?

  15. SMFS

    On Ubuntuism:

    ubuntu was used as a term for a specifically African (or Southern African) kind of socialism or humanism found in blacks, but lacking in whites,in the context of the transition to black majority rule in Zimbabwe and South Africa. The first publication dedicated to ubuntu as a philosophical concept appeared in 1980, Hunhuism or Ubuntuism: A Zimbabwe Indigenous Political Philosophy (hunhu being the Shona equivalent of Nguni ubuntu) by Stanlake J. W. T. Samkange. Hunhuism or Ubuntuism is presented as political ideology for the new Zimbabwe, as Southern Rhodesia was granted independence from the United Kingdom.

    So Ubuntu is African (Black) kindness not found in whites. So massacring those not in your tribe, stealing and making a mess then?

  16. Mal Reynolds (Serenity)

    abacab +1 Add Marx to that list

    The sheer gall to come to university in the UK and then demand they teach the main philosophers from your own country’s history than those that were most important to the UK’s history.

  17. “But you can text sub-literate obscene abuse on your mobile phone.”

    Maybe so, but you indeed a Thick.Racist.Prick

  18. SOAS is useful due to the variety of languages taught there that aren’t available at any other University in the UK but all other degrees provided are fully corrupted by the most extreme forms of leftist dogma.

    The student body is made up of 10-20% quite bright guys (plenty of ex public schoolers, elite foreigners etc) who have made a smart decision in specialising in African or Asian regions and languages while the rest is a pretty mediocre bunch consisting of self-hating white kids who couldn’t get in somewhere higher ranked (like UCL etc), have a vague interest in studying the 3rd world, and British Asians/Blacks who want to get in touch with their ancestral cultures.

    The first group go on to get headhunted by security services/various banking firms etc as their knowledge is very useful to have while the second group either go into the academia/NGO game if they’ve done reasonably well or…the dole I suppose if they haven’t. SOAS used to have (I’m assuming still does) have very high dropout rates.

  19. Ken: ubuntu also requires that you look after your relatives (motivation=or the ancestors strike you down) by providing jobs gifts and plunder.

  20. “address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism.”

    Someone should tell them that epistemology is a branch of western philosophy.

  21. Bloke in Costa Rica

    You could fit all the non-white philosophers worthy of the name in the back of a Mini. You might as well teach how to ward off bone-pointing in medical school.

  22. When they came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the SJWs,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a SJW.

    Then they stopped coming for people,
    As most of the world’s problems had gone.

  23. They do have a point, though. Why is the School of *Oriental* and *African* Studies teaching European subjects? From its name you would expect it to be teaching, eg, Chinese, Japanese, India, Kenyan, Morrocan, Egyptian, etc. related subjects.

  24. And if the students don’t want to learn about European philosophy, the answer is face-palmingly simple – don’t enrol on a course that studies European philosophy. How on earth does that not occur to them?

  25. “And if the students don’t want to learn about European philosophy, the answer is face-palmingly simple – don’t enrol on a course that studies European philosophy. How on earth does that not occur to them?”

    I’m guessing you need the course to receive your degree.

  26. So they should be teaching Bantu philosophy then.

    Am I mistaken in remembering that the Bantu were vicious colonialists?

    Let he whose ancestors didn’t invade anywhere and steal land throw the first stone.

  27. Enoch Powell, while studying for his double-starred first in Classics at Cambridge, took a course in Urdu at SOAS. He felt it would help in his goal of becoming Viceroy.

  28. So Much For Subtlety

    ken – “So Ubuntu is African (Black) kindness not found in whites. So massacring those not in your tribe, stealing and making a mess then?”

    It used to be racists that argued that Black people thought in a different way. Now it is progressives. Still, I am warming to this ubuntu thing. I used to think it was just a mildly annoying operating system. How wrong I was!

    A key concept associated with “unhu” is how we behave and interact in our various social roles, e.g., daughters-in-law traditionally kneel down when greeting their parents-in-law and serve them food as a sign of respect and maintain the highest standards of behaviour that will be extended or reflected to her family and all the women raised in that family. The daughter-in-law does this as part of the ambassadorial function that she plays and assumes at all times. However, this does not apply only to daughters-in-law but to all women in general, even among friends and equals such as brother and sister, and this does not imply that the woman is subordinate to the man, or sister to brother. It is all essentially considered to be a characteristic of having “unhu” and a social interaction within the context of “unhu”. The demands imposed upon men within the context of “unhu” are more physically demanding than that placed upon the woman.

    I can’t wait to tell the daughters-in-law that humanity requires them to serve me from a kneeling position – and men should go down t’pit while women do the cooking and such stuff. How progressive Africa is! Truly the students of SOAS could learn from this!

    The concept of “unhu” also constitutes the kernel of African Traditional Jurisprudence as well as leadership and governance. In the concept of unhu, a crime committed by one individual on another extends far beyond the two individuals and has far-reaching implications to the people from among whom the perpetrator of the crime comes. Unhu jurisprudence tends to support remedies and punishments that tend to bring people together. For instance, a crime of murder would lead to the creation of a bond of marriage between the victim’s family and the accused’s family in addition to the perpetrator being punished both inside and outside his social circles. The role of “tertiary perpetrator” to the murder crime is extended to the family and the society where the individual perpetrator hails from.

    So, let me get this right, if Sheep Shagger A kills Sheep Shagger X then SS-A’s family must give SS-X’s family a girl in marriage? And on top of that, it is fair and reasonable for SS-X’s family to kill SS-A’s cousin, SS-B, in retaliation because the murder, of course, extends beyond the individual?

    You know this explains a lot about Africa. But it is odd to see it called humanism.

  29. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Costa Rica – “You could fit all the non-white philosophers worthy of the name in the back of a Mini. You might as well teach how to ward off bone-pointing in medical school.”

    Come on, that is not fair! It is more or less true for the modern world. But it is not true for the past. The Muslim world did produce philosophers of note. So did East Asia.

    They just don’t now.

  30. So Much For Subtlety

    Ironman – “Maybe so, but you indeed a Thick.Racist.Prick”

    Still thinking wistfully about my manhood I see.

    I am not surprised. Even in Wolverhampton it is legend.

  31. So Much For Subtlety

    abacab – “Let he whose ancestors didn’t invade anywhere and steal land throw the first stone.”

    Pacific Islanders?

  32. “He is an expert in the Palaver (politics)”

    The origin of the phrase “what a palaver!” I wonder?

    Anyway, I’m not sure it’s about them not wanting to study these texts – the real reason is they don’t want these texts studied. By anyone.

  33. I’m old enough to remember a time when we were supposed to not see differences in people just because of their ethnic origin. “We’re all pink in the same places” sorta thing.

    Now we have to dismiss ideas from some people because they aren’t from particular ethnic origins? Rejecting ideas because the brain that hosted it was in a body covered with the wrong skin colour?

    This is not logical or consistent. I shouldn’t have to make that point, of course.

    If we are to live in a culture of increasing identity politics, by definition, we must drop the idea of cultural equivalence. We no longer have to pretend that the end result of thousands of years of sub-Saharan culture has equal worth to humanity than, say Greek culture or post-Renaissance Europe or the culmination of Magna Carta, Common Law and the American Constitution.

    We could have some fun with this; maybe a website with a league table of cultures showing their philosophic worth to “personkind” measuring such trivia as rights of the individual, speech, , property, sexuality, religion, etc.? Let each make the case for their moral superiority relative to the others based on where we are today, not what someone did or didn’t do 500 years ago.

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