Using all their knowledge of the English language this week, English literature students of Yale University managed to string-together enough words to complain about the overly English and overly literate contents of their English Literature course.
We, undergraduate students in the Yale English Department, write to urge the faculty to reevaluate the undergraduate curriculum… In particular, we oppose the continued existence of the Major English Poets sequence as the primary prerequisite for further study. It is unacceptable that a Yale student considering studying English literature might read only white male authors.
They then go on to the main focus of their complaint
The Major English Poets sequences creates a culture that is especially hostile to students of color.
When students are made to feel so alienated that they get up and leave the room, or get up and leave the major, something is wrong.
It is understood that The Major English Poets includes works so complex in their subject-matter and so intricate in their structure that they produce nothing but blank, terrified incomprehension in ‘students of color.’ Academics and students are coming to agree that this state-of-affairs is the fault of the Major English Poets who, doubtless, produced thematically complex and demanding literature as part of a dastardly and racist plan to discriminate against black people.
The pattern of ‘students of color’ leaving English Literature to pursue studies in less demanding subjects such as Black Studies is then referenced:
The English department loses out when talented students engaged in literary and cultural analysis are driven away from the major.
Finally, the students’ petition demands:
We ask that Major English Poets be abolished, and that the pre-1800/1900 requirements be refocused to deliberately include literatures relating to gender, race, sexuality, ableism, and ethnicity.
This petition is only the latest of many such petitions the purpose of which is to promote ‘social justice.’
The aim of social justice on campus is to abolish all courses which black people find difficult. Petitions calling for the abolition of maths, physics, chemistry, engineering, medicine, geography, history, law and palaeontology are currently being drafted.
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