University Professor goes on profanity-laced racist rant on Twitter then tries to hide it. Do we have it saved? Why yes, yes we do.
· Dec 2, 2020 ·

I think it's pretty well understood in academic circles that when faced with criticism over your instructional methods the mature thing to do is to engage those people with profanity-laced ad-hominem attacks questioning their heritage and motivations.

Consider it a professional courtesy.

The genesis of the controversy appears to have come from criticism "Latinx" author and educator David Bowles received over his continued dismissal of the educational worth of "canon" works (read: anything written by a dead white male) as taught in schools and his calls to drastically reduce their presence.

He did not take that very well and went on an unhinged rant on Twitter.

Did he regret it? Not at all.

Oh, wait, yes he did.

It only took about a day. I could access the tweets, and his account (which has also been locked) during the course of the day, but by evening it was all locked up.

However, between web archives, my browser cache, and the fact that I was doing screencaps all along, I've managed to preserve most of the gloriousness of his performance.

Let's start with his obligatory recitation of his credentials because, at some point in these exchanges, there's always a recitation of credentials.

That's very nice. You went to school, have sold a lot of books, and won some awards.

Then again, Rachel Maddow is a Rhodes scholar, Harlequin romances have published over 4,000 titles, and Milli Vanilli won a Grammy.

Sure, you could rely solely on the power of your argument to persuade and in doing so demonstrate a mature confidence in your position, but isn't it much better to skip all that work and just tell people how smart and accomplished you are rather than showing them?

"I know this stuff."

When you have to say it...

More telling, note this part:

I am Mexican American

I have a non-Latinx white parent

He is a "Mexican-American" who happens to have a "white parent."

He is not, mind you, a white guy who happens to have a Mexican parent.

In the intersectionality sweepstakes game, that doesn't get you anything other than a requirement that you recognize your privilege. No, the greater your claim to marginalization, the more victimhood points you earn.

So, Mexican-American it is!

I guess Bowles is just one of those glass-is-half-woke kind of guys.

The important thing to note up front is that Bowles is not in any way suggesting you shouldn't read the classics.

"NO ONE is saying people SHOULD NOT read the classics."

He's just saying they shouldn't be taught anymore.

"We're saying that they shouldn't be forced on modern young people in the classroom."

That's all, just remove time-honored literary bedrocks of American culture from our public schools. Where's the controversy?

I mean, reading Catcher In The Rye can be harmful! It might require kids to think beyond their current life and the world around them, and we can't have that. Much better to take a deconstructionist view of literature, and reject the notion that works have inherent value. Instead, let's assume works only have value to you if you like them, placing you at the center, reinforcing the notion of subjective truth, and turning the arts into an exercise in narcissism.

"Once you accept that there is no inherent, objective value in written text without its intersection with a reader's mind, it becomes clear that the only reason to promote the Western canon is to ensure the endurance of a particular worldview."

"Namely white supremacy."

Because of course.

He's amazed!

Having white people create a canon of white authors is white supremacy because there is no objective truth.

But hey, it's not like all canon literature is bad, why some of it is quite good for,

"...people who have shaken themselves free of white supremacy."

As long as you fully embrace woke culture, the canon is great!

Now you know why he downplays that whole half-white thing.

Despite all this, he believes that portions of the canon can still be taught.

But only with a warning label!

"Read with care, if you choose to read. There's much to be loved and much to be feared in those pages."

No warning label for works by non-whites. Nope, they are fully free of any human failings which is not at all condescending or dehumanizing.

Let's face it, canon literature can be hard. Why works like the Canterbury Tales and Beowulf aren't even written like a young-adult novel!

The characters didn't have Instagram! How are we supposed to relate to that?!

You know what consigns people to failure?

Bad teachers.

Much better to completely avoid challenging young minds and spoon feed them works that don't in any way risk failure, because always avoiding the risk of failure means you'll never fail!


Did you know David Bowles is a young adult novelist?

I bet Hemingway couldn't carry his shoes.

This is not in any way a cry for help. I felt like I should point that out.

For the record, I am all for expanding reading lists beyond the old canon. But the old canon has a very important purpose in that it can serve as a foundational touchstone for American culture. And yes, much of that culture originated among western European white people.

So what? I'm arguably half western European by heritage. In fact, I'm between 15 and 250 times more Arab than Elizabeth Warren is Native American. I find it interesting, but ultimately irrelevant.

The problem is not that we should expand the canon. We should. The problem is that the motivations of proponents for such a move are not coming from a good place, as Bowles revealed (and is now trying to cover up).

It's not diversity he wants, he wants to fight "white supremacy," and despite protestations, he does not appear to be a fan of literary classics.

Everyone struggles with some of these works. Everyone. It doesn't matter what color you are, The Canterbury Tales is a slog.

No one instantly relates to stories a century-old, either, no matter their color. The Red Badge of Courage involves people living a life that has little to do with anything I know. The Grapes of Wrath? Same.

That's the point.

With all his degrees and language skills, David Bowles and people like him don't understand that.

No, Mr. Bowles, that is the exact opposite of what we should do. You're the teacher, teach. A lot of kids don't much want to learn physics or math either, and yet we "force" that on them, too.

Add diverse works, you have my blessing. But do it from love and not hate. Do it from appreciation and not resentment.

But the easy stuff, let them read that on their own. The challenging works? The ones with which students are going to struggle? Teach them that, work with them, help them learn.

That's your job.

And for the love of all that is holy, don't be so condescending as to assume they can't "relate" to a work because of the color of their skin.

Because that makes you the racist.


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