It's been quite a while since I've indulged in a rant about Amairikuhn edgykayshun but when T.M. shared the following article I knew I had to, because the galloping nuttery in the Amairikuhn quackademy knows no bounds. Princeton is dropping its requirements in Latin and Greek in its classics department:
I don't even know where to start. Already we've seen mathematics "professors" wailing about the inherent "racism" in mathematics, which leaves me at a loss for how 2+2 = 4 is somehow racist. Presumably, 2+2=4 for blacks, whites, "Asians", midgets, giants, men, women, and all things in between. Maybe its all those Greek letters, or something. The latest twist to the folly seems to be that getting the correct answer isn't as important as "trying" and "showing your work", until, of course, the airplanes start falling out of the sky or the rockets go off course, or Alexa accidentally launches the missiles when people, according to a recent cartoon, were simply ordering lunch. There's only one letter difference, after all, between "lunch" and "launch", so why quibble over mere details?
Getting rid of Latin and Greek in the classics opens a door to all sorts of mischief. We can have "Vedic studies" without Sanskrit, and for the same reasons, that it's racism against - oh, let's say - the Chinese who - poor things - are stuck with an ancient system of ideograms and incapable of Sanskrit subtlety. We can have Russian, French, Italian, Spanish, Swahili or German literature without Russian, French, Italian, Spanish, Swahili or German. We're going to have to redo our alphabets to get rid of the inherent anti-ideogram biases of Roman, Cyrillic, and Sanskrit characters. Arabic is going to be an especial problem because it's biased against left-to-right readers because of its right-to-left bias, so we're going to have to promote left-hand Arabic (with commensurate revision of all of Arabic literature).
But wait, there's more; there's a key word in Princeton's proposals:
“The actions we take to promote equity and inclusion will not suffice to protect members of our community from discrimination and the effects of systemic racism – particularly anti-Black racism,” the statement adds. “For that reason, we end by expressing our solidarity with efforts to achieve equity in our nation and our world.” (Boldface emphasis added)
Equity? Don't you mean "equality"? I thought one of the benefits of a classical education was learning the roots of Greek and Latin words and their meanings, and being able to understand how those languages have influenced our own, and to use words accurately. So since when did "equity" replace "equality"?
Or is there another game here?
I suspect, of course, it's another game, because "equity" is a term of ownership, of being -to use the other contemporary euphemism - a "stakeholder" in a project, in this case, to turn students into the owners of the texts...
... and if they own the texts of Plato, or Aristotle, or Virgil, or Plutarch or Ovid or Plotinus, they can revise those texts according to their own whims and agendas...
See you on the flip side...