There are countless examples of unbridled racial hatred seeping into academia under the guise of “anti-racism.” The latest example of this trend is the unhinged work of D-L Stewart, a black trans man and the department chair at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education.
Per Breitbart, Stewart’s April 2022 article has attracted recent attention due to its call to academics and critical race theorists to commit themselves to the “death of whiteness,” specifically asking them to take up the “verbal effigy ‘dead honky.’”
In Stewart’s abstract, the academic cites a “Saturday Night Live” sketch during which comedians Chevy Chase and Richard Pryor exchange various racial epithets.
In this paper, I parallel the emotionalities displayed in that sketch to assert that as whiteness pretends to be innocent, flustered, and terrified, it nonetheless creates terror and violence. Critical whiteness studies (CWS) in the field of higher education fails to account for these technologies of violence that characterize whiteness and which whiteness employs. I bring a Black consciousness lens that asserts a critical narrative grounded in my own and in the intellectual, cultural, and psychic experiences of Blackness.
“From that space, I theorize technologies of (white) violence as enactments of: (1) malicious white terror; (2) rhetorical white innocence, mobilized through white contempt and white transmission; and, (3) pacifying white concession,” Stewart continues.
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Stewart’s assertions throughout the piece include the ideas that “whiteness remains in power even when no white people are in leadership,” “whiteness is itself a violence,” and “in its emptiness, white refers to no ethnic group and defines itself only in reference to what it is not — it is not Black, disabled, poor, trans, non-Christian.”
The publication of this article makes clear that modern academia is more than content with churning out noxious word-vomit, as long as it contains the trendy language and grievance politics that academics seem to enjoy.
With phrases like the “death of whiteness” finding their way into academic lexicon, it should come as no surprise that three concerned authors managed to easily slip several bogus papers into academic journals. The promulgation of this pseudo-intellectual wokespeak lowers the bar for all academics, presenting a serious threat to genuine intellectual pursuit.
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