Classics and White Supremacy

The claim is that classics as a field is complicit in white supremacism, an ideology that holds that “the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races” (to use a standard definition that strikes me as reflecting most people’s understanding of the term).

“By ‘white supremacy’ I do not mean to allude only to the self-conscious racism of white supremacist hate groups. I refer instead to a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.”

What kind of evidence would allow us to evaluate whether, or to what extent, this claim holds up? The kind of evidence that would convince me might include classics academics arguing that white people are inherently superior, organizing panels discussing how white people might gain control over people of other races, and so on. That may seem a pretty high bar, but that’s the bar that it seems appropriate to set in assessing the very ambitious claim that’s been made.



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