In a non-racist world, university students would not be exposed to the irrelevant teachings of long-dead white male philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle and Socrates. When modern geniuses like Kanye West and Dr Dre are still very much alive, it is nothing short of perverse that our youth are forced to study philosophy from over two thousand years ago.
Given the overwhelming preponderance of dead white male philosophers in today’s courses, students in London, England, from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)’s student union have launched a valiant battle. They are courageously insisting that, when studying philosophy, “the majority of philosophers on our courses” should be from Africa and Asia.
According to a spokesperson from the SOAS student union, their simple aim in fighting this historic injustice is to “decolonise” the university, and to “address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism”. Xe added that if the work of “white philosophers” is to be studied at all, it should be done from a “critical standpoint”. It is vital to recognise the “colonial context in which so-called ‘Enlightenment’ philosophers wrote within”.
We salute the SOAS and join ourselves to their efforts. In researching this article, we spent several hours trying to find the very best work of notable African and Asian philosophers. Tragically, the racist commercial policies of leading book publishers means that almost all available philosophy texts are written by dead white males. It is as though there has been a blanket censorship on African and Asian philosophers. In a recent list of the supposed ten greatest-ever philosophers, not a single philosopher of colour was listed! A token Asian philosopher (Confucius) was listed at number 5, but hardly counts given this is a man.
When comparing the works of Plato et al. with modern great such as Kanye West, it is clear that we are living in a far superior age. It is not so much that Kanye West built on the philosophy of Plato; it is rather that Plato anticipated Kanye West. This is how it should be.
“Because I was 14 and middle class. I know what it felt like to not get what I have. People say to me ‘You’re successful, what are you crying about?’. I’m crying about the people. I’m crying about their daughters. Our daughters, as one family. What good is it? What good is anything that everyone can’t have? Every ism. They think we’re done with racism. What about elitism, what about separatism, what about classism? That’s all.” – Kanye West