The Dartmouth Observer
Saturday, August 31, 2002
Just a Thought . . .
I have often heard leftists decry the the authors of the Western canon as "just a bunch of dead white guys." Although I disagree with their motives, I can understand their disdain for white males, but one nagging thought lingers--should we really hold their deaths against them?
As a white male, I already have difficulties making my mark on the world, since that status suffices to condemn me. But if even against these odds I secure a place in this world as one of the greatest intellectuals of the human race, should all that be erased upon my death? Will others reinvent the wheel after me simply because they can't trust the work of the dead white guy?
Further, are these criticisms mutually independent? Could I stand in an English class one day and say something like, "I respect So-and-so's writing on her experiences as a Hindu woman under British rule, but can we really trust her ideas on colonialism? After all, she died in 1913." Or is the fault of mortality reserved to whites and males?