A leaked syllabus of a class called “Global Whiteness” at the University of North Carolina reads like a parody of today’s campus race obsession and radicalism. Campus Reform published a copy that includes topics like “White Trash,” “Enlightenment or Enwhitenment?” and “How is Trump racist?” Perhaps most laughable is the course appears to blame America and the West in the Pacific Theater during World War II instead of on Japan’s racist imperialism and aggression.
“The course overview describes World War II in the Pacific as ‘the first global attack on white Anglo-American hegemony’ and ‘Japan’s attempt to roll back Euro-American colonialism.’” Anybody who has studied World War II should be well-acquainted with such Japanese war crimes (to name only a few) as the Rape of Nanking, the Manilla Massacre and the Bataan Death March. It’s unclear how killing, raping or enslaving civilians rolls back colonialism or hegemony.
Just counting one battle on Okinawa — the island I was born on — the cost of American lives was over 12,500 in 1945. The bloody effort to liberate the Pacific from Japan’s rabid aggression cost over 160,000 American lives in total. Japan’s futile attempt to delay surrender allowed the death of hundreds of thousands of their very own citizens.
Indeed, the rewriting of history is reaching new and absurd levels if World War II can be blamed on the Allies and not the Axis powers. Such claims are further comical because the Japanese themselves don’t even believe such revisionist history given their apology for World War II and the reparation payments to the Asian nations they pillaged during the conflict.
Students at Carolina and all colleges and universities should be exposed to new ideas. Still, it’s another matter when history morphs into something entirely unrecognizable for the sole purpose of ideology.
Divisive Marxist ideologies and the repudiation of Western Civilization should be an anathema to universities. While the Enlightenment period certainly had dark forces, trashing it as “Enwhitenment” is disturbing since it gave us such concepts and benefits as the rights of man, advances in science, religious freedom, and democracy.
One of the greatest characteristics of North Carolina is that it offers many excellent colleges and universities. Still, given the mounting challenges in higher ed — particularly student debt and demographics — universities should improve upon offering coursework and instruction that can survive in the marketplace of ideas. If the ideas being put forward aren’t serious or attack people and systems on the basis of race, perhaps states should rethink funding higher-ed.
A harrowing report from the Wall Street Journal notes that the number of men attending colleges and universities compared to women has fallen to record lows. If the numbers continue in the next few years, two women will earn a degree for every male degree. Yet, despite this growing imbalance, young men are much more likely to be demonized on college campuses today.
Carolina’s motto is Lux Libertas — “light and liberty.” The rediscovery of proper education is going to take championing those ideals. If higher education continues to drift from the richness of its mission by enslaving minds to the latest ideological fads, particularly the absurd, it will further erode the free society and the common good. After all, light and liberty are only synonymous when they point to truth.
Ray Nothstine is Carolina Journal opinion editor.