Another example of academia in the United States of America (USA) seemingly going overboard in order to appear committed to racial justice has emerged. The prestigious University of Chicago has introduced a bizarre requirement for students seeking to enroll in its English program. They have to also take interest in 'black studies.'
This decision of the English department has left many people surprised but is not an isolated one. In the past few months, many universities have tried to appear 'woke' by altering their courses or discontinuing certain streams of studies.
"English as a discipline has a long history of providing aesthetic rationalizations for colonization, exploitation, extraction, and anti-blackness," an official statement from the faculty of English in the University claimed. It also adds that there have been "persistent, recalcitrant anti-blackness in our discipline."
To undo this, the University has decided to increase the number of non-white personnel for its courses and studies. On top of that, the institute has also introduced courses that are supposed to bring the 'black' perspective into the curriculum. One of these courses is studies of late American author Toni Morrison's novels while others such as 'Black Shakespeare' and 'Uneasy Intimacies: Interracial Modernism' are also present.
This is another manifestation of the Black Lives Matter campaign that has convulsed USA after the killing of George Floyd. While the movement has primarily been about angry, and at times, violent protests, sections of academia have also jumped into the fray.
Students of one of the Universities in US decided to complain to the administration that 'Black English' is discriminated against and is regarded as inferior to the form of English which is spoken by privileged sections of society.
Another University transferred one of its professors to another course after some black students complained that his pronunciation of a Chinese word sounded too much like the slur used to denote black people.
As expected, there has been a response from the other side also. Somalia-born American activist and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali reacted on Twitter to the decision by saying that it is 'idiotic.' She also wondered whether, by extending the logic of the University, English itself shouldn't be banned.