Sept 1, 2017
Two law professors have been accused of racism and homophobia over an op-ed lamenting the “breakdown of bourgeois culture” and arguing that “all cultures are not equal.”
The professors, Amy Wax of the University of Pennsylvania and Lawrence Alexander of the University of San Diego, co-authored an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Paying the Price for Breakdown of the Country’s Bourgeois Culture,” which quickly prompting outrage among students and alumni.
One public statement, issued by 54 University of Pennsylvania students and alumni, denounces Wax’s arguments as stemming “from the very same malignant logic of hetero-patriarchal, class-based white supremacy that plagues our country today.”
“These cultural values and logics are steeped in anti-blackness and white hetero-patriarchal respectability, i.e. two-hetero-parent homes, divorce is a vice, and the denouncement of all groups perceived as not acting white enough i.e. black Americans, Latino communities and immigrants in particular,” the statement elaborates.
Additionally, several student groups published an open letter condemning the professors for their comments, describing them as “racist and homophobic statements” before criticizing the two for using a “falsely ‘objective’ rhetoric” that serves as the “intellectual home” of Richard Spencer’s “incitement of moral panic.”
“More important than a single professor’s views, however, is the university’s persistent silence on such views, which creates and maintains a hostile environment for marginalized students on campus,” the statement continues, concluding with a list of several demands, including the “convening of a committee with student representatives to develop a formal policy for censuring hate speech.”
Additionally, the student groups demand a “formal, centralized Diversity and Inclusion office” with full-time staff, and an anonymous “digital grievance submission form specifically for racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia.”
Campus Reform reached out to several of the student groups behind the statement, though only the the Latin American Graduation and Professional Student Assembly replied, declining to comment.
Wax and Alexander, however, have continued to defend their views, with Wax telling The Daily Pennsylvanian that she does not “shrink” from her use of the word “superior” in describing certain cultures.
“Bourgeois values aren’t just for white people,” she continued. “The irony is: bourgeois values can help minorities get ahead.”
Similarly, Alexander echoed Wax’s defense in an interview with Inside Higher Ed in which he explained that “there’s not a racist claim in it” in reference to their article.
“Offense is largely manufactured,” he continued. “This is another thing people can cite in order to claim power…This is another way to arrogate power, by claiming you’ve been offended.”
Campus Reform reached out to both Wax and Alexander for additional comment on the matter, but neither replied in time for publication.
This article was posted: Friday, September 1, 2017 at 5:27 am