University of Chicago English dept slammed as 'bigoted' for admitting students 'interested in Black studies' only

The English Department is being flogged for its decision as its staffers reportedly say they've been inundated with hate mails and angry backlash

                            University of Chicago English dept slammed as 'bigoted' for admitting students 'interested in Black studies' only
University of Chicago (Official Website)

The University of Chicago's English Department has stated that it will only consider graduate school applicants interested in "working in and with Black studies" for its upcoming admissions cycle. The department announced the decision in a faculty statement on its homepage in July this year.

In it, the professors backed the Black Lives Matter movement and condemned the lives lost due to police brutality. In their official statement, the department said, "The English department at the University of Chicago believes that Black Lives Matter and that the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks matter, as do thousands of others named and unnamed who have been subject to police violence. As literary scholars, we attend to the histories, atmospheres, and scenes of anti-Black racism and racial violence in the United States and across the world. We are committed to the struggle of Black and Indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality."

A Black Lives Matter mural that was painted on 5th Avenue is seen directly in front of Trump Tower on July 13, 2020, in New York City. In a tweet, President Trump called the mural a 'symbol of hate' and said that it would be 'denigrating this luxury Avenue' (Getty Images)

Stressing on the admission cycle they stated, "For the 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle, the University of Chicago English Department is accepting only applicants interested in working in and with Black Studies. We understand Black Studies to be a capacious intellectual project that spans a variety of methodological approaches, fields, geographical areas, languages, and time periods."

Talking about literature the statement said, "Together with students, we attend both to literature's capacity to normalize violence and derive pleasure from its aesthetic expression, and ways to use the representation of that violence to reorganize how we address making and breaking life. Our commitment is not just to ideas in the abstract, but also to activating histories of engaged art, debate, struggle, collective action, and counterrevolution as contexts for the emergence of ideas and narratives." 

Extending support to Black scholars and students, it stated, "We have been expanding our range of research and teaching through recent hiring, mentorship, and admissions initiatives that have enriched our department with a number of Black scholars and scholars of color who are innovating in the study of the global contours of anti-Blackness and in the equally global project of Black freedom. Our collective enrichment is also a collective debt; this department reaffirms the urgency of ensuring institutional and intellectual support for colleagues and students working in the Black studies tradition, alongside whom we continue to deepen our intellectual commitments to this tradition. As such, we believe all scholars have a responsibility to know the literatures of African American, African diasporic, and colonized peoples, regardless of area of specialization, as a core competence of the profession."

However, after the announcement, the English Department is being flogged for bias and racism over its decision. Its staffers reportedly say they've been inundated with hate mails and angry backlash following the decision, as reported by Daily Mail.

The news made a lot of noise on the Internet with some people calling the decision "bigoted". An enraged user wrote, "How does the first paragraph support or justify what’s being stated in the second? How do they 'attend?' Are there no oppressed White people in the USA? The more I think of this, the more bigoted and infantile it seems."


A user asked if this is a violation of laws. "University of Chicago Says It Will Only Accept English Students Interested in Black Studies. Isn't that the definition of racism? Isn't that in violation of federal law?" Some called the announcement “strong-armed”. "I am obviously interested in black literature. But being strong-armed into studying it?? The English department of the University of Chicago has just decided that this year it will only be accepting graduate students committed to working in Black Studies.” 



 Another concurred, “Please don't strong-arm me into applying to the University of Chicago.” A user accused it of racism, “Leftist racism has no fewer bounds than 1930’s Germany. Indeed, the Fuehrer would be extremely proud of Chicago University.” 


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