Monday, January 08, 2024

John McWhorter’s misreading of the pressure that led to Harvard political scientist Claudine Gay’s resignation as president of Harvard University

John McWhorter, a linguistics professor at Columbia University and a "New York Times" opinion columnist, writes superbly about language, as in recent columns about "it is what is" or singular "they". But today, while arguing that African-American political scientist Claudine Gay "was not driven out" as president of Harvard University "because she is black", McWhorter refers to the role of "the right-wing anti-critical race theory crusader Christopher Rufo" without considering that Rufo is a notoriously proud racist. As novelist A. R. Moxon has argued, Rufo may claim his challenge to Gay is about plagiarism and academic anti-semitism, but such an acceptance of that framing disregards Rufo's "supremacist assumptions" and "eliminationist intentions". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 8 January 2024)



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