Doug Stokes, Professor of International Security at the University of Exeter, writes that before the killing of George Floyd, UK universities were already being castigated as hotbeds of racism. This has now gone into overdrive, as universities are now busy “decolonising” their curriculums lest any teaching or readings are found that may increase the psychosis that governs “the thoughts and actions of Western society”.
For many years “critical race theory” was at best a marginal perspective in social science and the humanities. It now enjoys wide purchase. The UK’s leading critical race theorist, Birmingham City University’s Professor Kehinde Andrews, claims that critical race theory “identifies the responsibility of white people” in perpetuating whiteness that he defines as a “psychosis that cannot be tamed through reason” as it is a “distorted view of reality that is in part reinforced by producing self-affirming hallucinations”. Whilst pessimistic, Professor Andrews has a plan of action: until “the conditions that create Whiteness are destroyed, the psychosis will govern the thoughts and actions of Western society”.
Up and down the country, senior university administrators and academics (as well as many schools) have taken up the ideas of CRT. Times Higher Education carried an open letter addressed to education secretary Gavin Williamson by UK academics calling for university administrators to use their institutional power to further transform the higher educational system. They argue that future university leaders need to take a range of courses to learn about racism and call for the withdrawal of taxpayers’ money should any university be judged to be failing in structural transformation. New training programmes “must include as central components topics on institutional racism, white privilege and power and racial microaggressions”.