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Reed College Students Demand Removal of White Authors from Humanities Course

A rare First Folio edition of William Shakespeares' plays (1623) pictured at Sotheby's auction house in London, on March 20, 2006
AFP

Students at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, are demanding the removal of white and European authors from a mandatory humanities course at the college.

Reed College caved to student protesters in April after they demanded that white authors be removed from the college’s Humanities 110 course. Now, the course will focus primarily on ancient Mediterranean authors.

Reed College professors have responded with confusion at the allegation that the Humanities 110 course is “too white.” “The idea that Hum 110 is a ‘white’ course is very strange to me,” Jay Dickson, a professor of English, recently said in a comment to the college’s magazine. “It presupposes that our contemporary racial categories are timeless.”

Despite the changes, the student activists are still concerned that the presence of Greek and Roman works will suggest that those works are superior to all of the works that follow.

“As a result, the first semester of Humanities 110 will become actually less diverse than it was before, because all of the non-white texts in the course will be taught after the Greek and Roman content, during the second semester,” the students wrote. “Reed freshmen will still receive the message that learning about white culture is more urgent and foundational to a college education.”

Reed College has a reputation for its overwhelming “social justice” spirit. In November 2017, students at the school came under fire after they declared that Steve Martin’s famous King Tut Saturday Night Live skit was racist.

“That’s like somebody … making a song just littered with the n-word everywhere,” a member of Reedies Against Racism told the student newspaper at the time.

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