THE UNBEARABLE WHITENESS OF BEING
Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist (Random Walks)
and author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and
Identity and Hear, O Israel! (Mantua Books). His
editorials appear regularly in PJ
Media. His monograph, Global Warning: The Trials of
an Unsettled Science (Freedom Press Canada) was launched
at the National Archives in Ottawa in September, 2012. His debut
Guitar, is now available, as is his latest
on Music, Poetry and Politics.
There can be little
doubt that the modern university, in its obsession with race,
gender, and sexual orientation under the rubric of "social
justice," has violated its core mandate, which, in the
words of Matthew Arnold from Culture and Anarchy, is
to familiarize readers and students with "the best that
has been thought and said." The Academy has turned Arnold's
maxim on its head, instructing students in the worst that has
been thought and said – and done. The curricular fetish
of "social justice," which is destroying the university
as an institution of higher learning, continues to metastasize.
the university as a social and cultural institution is a slow-motion
train wreck picking up speed: equity hiring, affirmative action,
anti-conservative and overt leftist politics, the "diversity
and inclusion" myth on which the academy prides itself,
groupthink, speech codes, snitch lines, trigger warnings, safe
spaces, microaggressions, the attack on academic freedom –
the list goes on.
bogus issue that has recently acquired major prominence in the
quagmire of campus politics is "whiteness," especially
the "hegemony" of straight white males and their champions,
guilty, apparently, of every conceivable ill that has bedeviled
the world since the first silverback descended from the trees.
This is merely a prime manifestation of the reigning hysteria
on college campuses, in particular its mephitic obsession with
race. "The toxic racial climate of colleges looks to be
perpetual," warns Scott Greer in No Campus for White
Men; anti-white ferocity "remains established as an
unchallenged dogma." There is no campus for some white
woman as well. Witness the current vendetta against distinguished
University of Chicago medievalist Rachel Fulton Brown.
author of a blog post "Three Cheers for White Men,"
a committed Catholic and a lover of Western civilization and
its Christian foundations, as her many books confirm, Fulton
Brown has been vilified as a Nazi and a hater. For daring to
defend Western Christendom as the source of many of our most
cherished values of sex equality and respect for individual
worth, she has been targeted by a mob of professors of literature,
history, and medieval studies who are determined to destroy
her professionally, writing an open letter to her university,
festooned with 1,500 signatures and stating that she is a disgrace
to the history department.
intent of the open letter is clearly to have Fulton Brown fired
or at least disciplined. She is reviled as a white supremacist
spreading hetero-patriarchal desecrations. The profanity hurled
against her on Twitter by a presumably cultivated professoriate
is unprintable, fit only for the lower depths. As Richard Mitchell
aptly wrote in The Graves of Academe, "[t]he prodigious
monster is down there."
the fact that the entire infrastructure these gutter academics
take for granted – the electrical grid that lights their
libraries and offices, the buildings in which they sit and type
their treatises, the roads they drive on and the planes they
fly in, the Twitter feeds and Facebook posts that facilitate
their frenzied denunciations of those they deem beyond the pale,
the medications that keep them going, the food they put on the
table, the table they put under the food, the vintage wines
they sip in the faculty lounge, the plumbing on which they rely,
the physical and technical maintenance that enables them to
survive, the accessories of any sort they assume as given –
indeed, just about everything is due to the labor, ingenuity,
risk, and entrepreneurial innovation of mainly straight white
males of European and American provenance and to the uniformly
despised capitalist enterprise. As my wife Janice Fiamengo vividly
points out in her recent Fiamengo File video on the issue, the
hypocrisy is astronomical.
focusing on the Fulton Brown fiasco, I will surely be accused
by detractors of cherry-picking, but any observer willing to
do the research will find that the entire cherry orchard is
tainted, scarcely a healthy drupe to be found. Globe and Mail
columnist Doug Saunders, for example, derides such reports of
university malfeasance, claiming, "To mistake a colourful
anecdote for a measurable trend is a basic scholarly mistake."
The instance I've cited, however, is not anomalous, but symptomatic.
Saunders should know better. The mistake is his, either an expression
of profound ignorance or a deliberate lie.
Milo Yiannopoulos writes in a major defense of Fulton Brown,
an inquisition is underway led by an army of self-proclaimed
"arbiters of moral taste, determined to rid the field of
infidels." They are intent on "burning the witch."
Fulton Brown's heresy is her affirmation that the study of the
Middle Ages "is fundamental to understanding how the Christian
West emerged, and how dramatically its character differs from
other cultures," which explains the current moral panic
about white supremacy presumably associated with the period.
"But the most absurd dimension of it all," Yiannopoulos
continues, "is that nothing associates the Middle Ages
with white supremacy more than journalists and academics shrieking
his seminal volume White Guilt, black scholar Shelby
Steele deplores the consequences of what he calls dissociational
thinking, the academic tendency to dissociate excellence and
truth from a marketable conception of social virtue and justice
and to regard race and ethnicity – non-white, of course
– as meritorious in themselves. Excellence has become
irrelevant as whiteness has become sinister. Dissociation, he
concludes, "is a power that always works by eroding the
quality of the host institution" while creating a "vacuum
of moral authority at the center of American life."
be white, Christian, and proud of one's heritage is now the
kiss of death. Rachel Fulton Brown, an excellent scholar and
a woman of high moral character, is the most recent victim of
the dissociational bigotry that governs the university environment.
She won't be the last.