Colonialism is such a terrible evil on college campuses that some special snowflakes demand trigger warnings. Although the horrors of colonialism are vast and many, remarkably few can really articulate those horrors.
A recent academic paper argued that nations that embraced their colonialism did better than those that didn’t. It almost sounds like colonialism isn’t such a bad thing…and that simply cannot stand.
Several professors have launched a petition seeking to take down an academic essay that extols the benefits of Western colonialism.
The appeal was launched on petition website Change.org and calls for Third World Quarterly, an academic journal published by Routledge, to apologize and retract Portland State University Professor Bruce Gilley’s “appalling article” titled The Case for Colonialism.“In truth, we originally thought this work was satire; if that is the case, it is satire that fails,” the professors write. “The sentiments expressed in this article reek of colonial disdain for Indigenous peoples and ignore ongoing colonialism in white settler nations.”
In their response to the essay, the professors outline several key arguments that they consider questionable, and label the work to be “offensive,” “damaging” and “harmful.”
“It is an active attack on BIPOC [Black people, Indigenous peoples, and people of color] scholars, thinkers, and people, as well as on the project of decolonization,” the petitioners write. “In our current political context, the lives and safety of BIPOC, refugees, and allies are being threatened by radicalized white supremacist groups.”
The one thing that is not mentioned as grounds for retraction by those who want the article retracted is the one thing that would truly warrant it being retracted. They never argue it is wrong.
At no point do they seem to truly attack Gilley’s findings on any factual basis. Instead, they argue merely that those findings might not make certain groups feel warm and fuzzy, thus making it not real scholarship. In the process, they illustrate why so many of us can so easily dismiss academia as nothing more than a group of progressive ideologues looking to impose their political views under the guise of scholarship.
If Gilley’s work is factually wrong or exhibits poor scholarship, then it should be argued and countered through further papers. Discredit the work through better scholarship.
Instead, they simply want it removed. They want to commit the academic equivalent to Stalin’s removal of people from photographs. They want to essentially make it seem like Gilley’s work had never been published…all because he presented information they don’t like.
Why? Why are they refusing to refute Gilley’s work and instead seeking to make it seem like it never happened, that it was never published? Is it that difficult?
My guess is that they know deep down that he’s right. They know it, but they also know that no one is supposed to say it, yet Gilley did. They can’t attack the scholarship because it’s accurate, so they simply want to sweep it under the rug so they won’t have to pretend it’s true.
If he’s factually wrong, it shouldn’t be too difficult for a fellow scholar to illustrate that. If he’s not though…