Dispossession of one people by another may follow a spectacular conquest and genocide event, or it may be a much more gradual process, a salami slicing accumulation of tiny individual losses which take a lifetime but which, by the end of that lifetime, has transformed society beyond recognition and in a way very much to the disadvantage of the dispossessed. This is the familiar “boiling frog” analogy – the frog doesn’t realise the water is boiling until it’s too late.
The analogy applies all too strongly to the position in our own country. Yet another tiny, but significant, dispossession was announced recently with the news that the English faculty of Cambridge university has hastened to comply with the demand of the university’s Students Union “Women’s Officer”, a Nigerian woman called Lola Olufemi, that the English course should be “decolonised” by including more African and Asian authors, necessarily leading to some white authors being dropped. This raises all sorts of rather obvious questions, one of which might be: “isn’t this rather racist, or does racism only work in one direction?” or “who exactly is being ‘colonised’ now?” or “isn’t your presence in this country, Miss Olufemi, entirely due to the colonisation which you deplore?”
In all of this Cambridge is following Oxford university which announced two years ago that it was overhauling curricula across humanities and social sciences to make them more “diverse”.
A valuable comment came from Gill Evans, the emeritus professor of medieval theology and intellectual history at Cambridge who said “it goes with calls to stop teaching predominantly western or European history as well as literature. If you distort the content of history and literature syllabuses to insert a statistically diverse or equal proportion of material from cultures taken globally, you surely lose sight of the historical truth that the West explored the world from the 16th century and took control – colonially or otherwise – of a very large part of it. It is false to pretend that never happened.” Quite so.
These developments in our universities, following a long process of multi-cultural and anti-racist schooling throughout the primary and secondary sectors, are no mere academic spats. Such changes to the syllabus will gradually infect the whole teaching and cultural area as those educated in these faculties take their place in the wider world. Thus the effect of the changes, and certainly in part their very purpose, is to deprive our people of a part of our cultural and historic inheritance. It is that inheritance, together with the ties of ancestry, which is the foundation of our ethnic identity and of our claim to the possession of this country, our homeland; hence dispossession.
The craven abandonment of England and Englishness by left-wing academics is no great surprise, but so far to the left has the pendulum swung that when, inevitably, it comes crashing back there are going to be a great many people with (figurative) bloody heads. There may be little sign here of the pendulum swinging back just yet – although Brexit, hated throughout the academic world, may be an interesting harbinger of things to come. The real good news is the rise and rise of the alternative right in the United States and hard right movements in continental Europe; what happens there will come here in its own good time.
By Frederick Dixon © 2017
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