To silence racism or let it speak 4

Racism needs to be confronted wherever it rears its ugly head and this, I believe, is best done through the public repudiation of racist views and an examination of the intellectual context that enables such views to gain purchase.

Why is it considered racist to suggest that black people are less intelligent than white people but it is not considered problematic to suggest that black people are not worthy of inclusion in the disciplines we teach?

How many sociology core courses regard W. E. B. Du Bois as integral to the discipline? How many philosophy core courses teach non-Western thinkers?

Until we reconsider the basic assumptions of what constitutes knowledge and whose knowledge we consider important enough to teach, such explicit forms of racism will continue to be legitimated by underlying implicit ones.

Gurminder K. Bhambra

Sussex University

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Man measuring bar graphs with tape measure

An Elsevier analysis explores the viability of a ‘smarter and cheaper’ model

  • David Willetts

The former universities minister discusses the reforms that reshaped higher education and his first steps into academia

  • Man holding a box filled with work-related items

Refusal by John Allen to obey instruction from manager at Queen Mary University of London led to his sacking, tribunal rules

  • A black and white crowd scene with a few people highlighted

What are the key issues local union branches are dealing with, and how do they manage relationships with institutions in what many activists argue is an increasingly confrontational environment?

  • Muslim woman at graduation ceremony, Barbican, London

Sector called on to embrace faith-related concerns in intellectual debates