I recently saw a Tweet that emphasized the true purpose of anti-racism work: repair, restoration, and sacrifice where necessary.
The third element – sacrifice – particularly struck me, especially as I was trying to think of what this week’s blog post would be about. It put the ongoing debates about the vitality of the field of Classics into a new perspective.
Those who have argued for ‘burning it all down’ know what it would mean to make sacrifices for the betterment of the discipline; those who oppose and criticize the idea of reforming Classics are simply afraid of a little discomfort. They would rather see a discipline rife with problems continue to thrive than sacrifice some things in order to at least begin to solve those problems.
This makes me think of Reni Eddo-Lodge’s concept of ‘fear of a black planet’ — the fear that by giving black people any power at all, the cultural hierarchy would be inverted and white people would be completely powerless and oppressed. (A similar concern was raised about the term ‘intersectionality‘. Do I sense a theme?)
What would the equivalent be for Classics? Fear of a BIPOC discipline?
I’d like to say that this is only characteristic of the old, white, tenured contingency of the discipline, but that just isn’t the case. We all need to make sacrifices, some much bigger than others, if we want to make progress in making Classics an anti-racist discipline.Continue reading “5 Things We Need to Sacrifice in Classical Studies”