A course that will be taught at Hobart and William Smith Colleges next year will teach students that “objectivity” and “meritocracy” are examples of “white mythologies” and “social constructs.”
“This course explores the history and ongoing manifestations of ‘white mythologies’ — long-standing, often implicit views about the place of White, male, Euro-American subjects as the norm against which the peoples of the world are to be understood and judged,” states the description for the class, which is titled “White Mythologies: Objectivity, Meritocracy, and Other Social Constructions.”
“Students will explore how systematic logics that position ‘the West’ and ‘whiteness’ as the ideal manifest through such social constructions as objectivity, meritocracy, and race, and as justifications for colonial interventions, slavery, and the subordination of women,” the description continues.
As crazy as this story may sound, this is far from the first time that we’ve seen this kind of thinking on a college campus. In April of 2017, a group of students at Pomona College wrote a letter to the school’s outgoing president claiming that “the idea that there is a single truth . . . is a myth and white supremacy.” Also last year, a professor at Pennsylvania State University–Brandywine argued that “meritocracy” is a “whiteness ideology.” This year, two University of Denver professors claimed that scientific objectivity works to “spread whiteness ideology.”
The idea that objectivity is somehow a myth, or that it has anything even remotely to do with “whiteness,” is so absolutely stupid that I feel like I don’t even have to spend time explaining why. Objectivity isn’t a myth. For example: In case you didn’t know, water is objectively wet, and that has nothing to do with “whiteness,” or with anything else. Objective truth absolutely does exist — and something that is an objective truth isn’t just dissimilar to a myth, it’s the exact opposite of a myth. That’s not even just my opinion; that’s an absolute fact based on what words mean. Things that are objectively true are not made more or less true by factors such as race or sex or class or anything else — they just are; the fact that some things are objectively true is not made more or less a fact by factors such as race or class or sex or anything else — it just is.
Truly, it is odd how often I see stories like this, because people on the left are always the ones claiming to stand for science. They often accuse the Right of refusing to consider scientific fact, but stories like this show that that isn’t necessarily always the case. Although outliers like this don’t necessarily represent all progressives, they certainly do show that there’s at least a sect within the progressive ideology that believes that the most important thing is to involve identity politics — even in instances where involving identity politics makes absolutely no logical sense.
This story was previously covered in an article in Campus Reform.