A Duquesne University professor has come under fire for saying there was “some kind of ethical dimension” for an argument that white people should kill themselves in reaction to racial division.
The anti-critical race theory group Mythinformed Milwaukee posted a video of the comments by professor Derek Hook.
The College Fix, a conservative news outlet, reported the video appears to be from a summer session hosted by Hook.
“White people should commit suicide as an ethical act,” the top of a presentation by Hook said, the video showed.
Hook was quoting a South African philosophy professor named Terblanche Delport, who wrote in 2016 about white people killing themselves amid racial division in the former apartheid state, the news outlet reported.
“The reality [in South Africa] is that most white people spend their whole lives only engaging Black people in subservient positions … My question is then how can a person not be racist if that’s the way they live their lives? The only way then for white people to become part of Africa is to not exist as white people anymore," Hook says, quoting Delport on a slide in the lecture.
"If the goal is to dismantle white supremacy, and white supremacy is white culture … then the goal has to be to dismantle white culture and ultimately white people themselves. The total integration into Africa by white people will also automatically then mean the death of white people as white as a concept would not exist anymore," the quote continued.
“Here’s the kind of crazy gambit of this talk,” Hook said, video of his comments showed. “I want to suggest that psychoanalytically we could even make the argument that there was something ethical in Delport’s statements.”
Hook concedes Delport might just be a “fighter” who is too aggressive in his arguments. He doesn’t dismiss the concept of white people killing themselves to atone for racism or undergo “[metaphorical] castration.”
“I want to make the argument that there is some kind of ethical dimension to his provocations,” the Duquesne professor said.
“I think Delport took his white audience to the threshold of a type of symbolic extinction…he took them to a proposed end of whiteness,” Hook said, adding that Delport "offered his white audience the opportunity to" contemplate "the castration of whiteness."
The Catholic university in Pittsburgh, Pa., pushed back at a firestorm of social media criticism, telling Fox News, "He did not make a statement advocating anything like what was suggested."
"In fact, he said that the statement in question was ‘crazy.’ He also said that the provocateur who used this example was wrong in suggesting any such radical action,” the university said.
“The words being circulated were simply lifted out of context to distort the actual comments. Saying that Professor Hook called for anything like the words in question is false," the statement added.
Delport is a “scholar and a practitioner of psychoanalysis with expertise in the areas of Lacanian psychoanalysis, post-colonial theory (the work of Frantz Fanon in particular), the psychology of racism, and critical social psychology,” according to his university bio.
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