The Woke Regression
I would like to say that the “woke” concept that is promoted at universities, including ones in the United Kingdom, that makes the claim that wholly formed, grammatically correct sentences and defined English represent the “homogenous north European, white male elite” is equally racist and sexist. The claim that grammar and the ability to conjugate your verbs correctly present a white male privileged position implies incorrectly that women or people who are not white cannot correctly speak or write.
The evolution of language allowing localised ghetto language does not present an improvement or a way of creating equality. It is rather the Tower of Babel presented as woke culture. If we allow everybody to have a different version of English, which of course creates a system that is no longer really defined scholarly language, we create a scenario that diversifies language in a way others cannot understand. Importantly, it leads to an outcome where those from poor backgrounds can no longer seek employment. Without the ability to write a good résumé and to present themselves well at an interview, the potential candidate will find themselves without a job.
Such virtue signalling is growing every day, and to lower the standards is an injustice that is iniquitous. The global system we live in is not going to vanish, and we are not going to move towards an egalitarian culture merely because people would like it to be the case. Rather, we live in a world of global competition. While we are fortunate enough not to have a global Communist overlord, we must remember that talent can easily migrate. Likewise, those who achieve the best results will be offered the best roles, if not at least the ones that pay the highest salary and provide the best opportunity for advancement.
Even if we are to take the view that it would be nice for those who come from poverty to have an opportunity to achieve more, and to be given opportunities that many with wealth take for granted, it does not change the fact that graduating from university without the ability to spell and to correct one’s basic grammatical mistakes will not allow you to be published in peer-reviewed journals, to provide government reports or findings, or even to get a job in any of the major financial sectors or high-paying roles. It becomes rather unimaginable to have lawyers and judges who cannot adequately understand the law.
Imagine judges and lawyers could not understand grammatically correct sentences or produce work that is both technically correct and grammatically sound. Not only would this lead to added confusion, but it would lead to a scenario where the very fabric of society is not upheld. There are, of course, those who would seek such an outcome. The notion that it only matters that you have an idea begs the question as to how others will understand your idea. University of the Arts London (UAL) claims that the guidelines of inclusive marking should be enacted to “actively accept spelling, grammar or other language mistakes that do not significantly impede communication unless the brief states that formally accurate language is a requirement”.
The University of Hull has removed the “inclusiveness policy” from public view. The record can still be found using the Wayback Machine, and the policy remains in force at the university (Hull, 2021). Much of this disingenuous drive to change society is based on work by Charles (2019) to “decolonise the curriculum”. The claim being made is that meritocracy is natively bad and leads to negative outcomes. In the typical Marxist twaddle (note that such is about the least offensive way of putting it), Elizabeth Charles makes the typical claims that we need to incorporate BAME learning because somehow, it will create a world that is equal, just, and without war.
Of note, she points out the importance in a quote she references saying that “curriculum provides a way of identifying the knowledge we value”. The question here is, whose knowledge is being valued? Are authors such as Charles seeking to form an uneducated and unemployable population of malcontents? For what other outcome is going to be likely when you produce large numbers of university graduates who are unemployable? The claim in seeking to “decolonise the curriculum” is that it will provide opportunities to those from other societies and, equally, that in a relativistic manner, all societies are equal.
Neither the claim that all societies are equal nor that opportunities will be provided is correct. People argue that it is racist to say that cultures cannot be compared, and that we must treat all cultures equally, which is far from the truth. There is a unified, universal truth, even when we have no way of knowing when we have found it. What we do know is that we get closer to it if we use logical, rational methodologies to uncover truth and examine where we are going wrong. The truth here is that claims of algorithmic racism and data capitalism are merely word salad that is meaningless and has no place in reality.
Arguing injustice because individuals have not learnt the grammar of a language, in this case English, is a fairly standard ploy that fails when you consider that meritocracy wins—because it produces more. The Soviet Union failed not because it could not produce for its people, but because it could not produce and grow and innovate at a rate that Western capitalism could. Unfortunately, in the Orwellian scheme that is used to change the meaning of language, many of these Marxists want to twist the fact that they believe they should have more, because they think they are owed something, into a justification for lowering the standards of everyone else.
Here, the ultimate minority, the individual, is overlooked. More importantly, the majority is completely ignored. Select groups are used and abandoned in this drive for a so-called equality. Here in the UK, the majority of people who live in poverty are white and Scottish or white and Welsh. Because they are white, they are considered privileged by some individuals in academic circles. No matter what culture, background, skin pigmentation level, or other aspect of measurement we may use, the reality is very simple: none of it addresses the problems of poverty in our society.
Whilst it is true that there are issues with the education of those in poor communities, the answer is not to lower educational standards, but rather to try to find opportunities that will allow those in poverty to learn more. Right now, access to digital information is readily available. The information that is expensive, and which many are promoting on the left, is new material that replaces the Western curriculum, arguing that it is colonised.
Western classics from Sophio and Aristophanes to Locke and Hobbes are freely available, without cost, and remain out of copyright. Yet they are attacked by those seeking to remove Western education. Yet, authors including Henry Lewis Gates Jr., Wole Soyinka, and Gwendolyn Brooks are a part of the Western canon that continues to expand and develop. One thing that can be noted with all such authors is that they are able to formulate sentences that are grammatically correct, using the English language.
Plotinus was thought to be influenced by Indian thought, through the teachings of his mentor, Ammonius Saccas. Equally, there is a good deal of influence in Islamic culture, with Aristotle being known across mediaeval Muslim texts as المعلم الأول. Although it translates most readily to the “principal” or “first teacher”, the extent of the terminology goes far beyond such meaning.
As somebody who has done the near impossible, as many on the left will tell you, in rising from abject poverty to the highest reaches of upper-class wealth, I find it duplicitous to the utmost for those who have middle-class backgrounds to express their rejection of educational standards. In teaching individuals that they cannot achieve in society, we do them a disservice. I achieved not because I had believed that I had been held back, but rather as a reaction to the position I had been in. Whilst it is true that I am locally gifted with an intellect that not all hold, being off the scale with Asperger’s equally provides me with a negative emotional intelligence, matching my very positive general intelligence.
Reducing standards does not help anyone. Rather, it lowers the ability of those from poor backgrounds to gain access to an international level of scholarship and training that will enable them to access further education and training, and to advance beyond the level of poverty that they have been born in. It does not mean that if you study and become a scholar, you will be rich. Rather, people need to understand that if they merely want to stay at university, they will not be rich but, simultaneously, gain a level of life without risk, leading to one that is ‘nice’, if such is what they choose. It does not mean that they will achieve the levels of what they think they should achieve, nor should they. Having a doctoral degree can mean extraordinarily trivial things. In fact, even 120 years ago, many people who became professors would have 2 to 4 doctorates. Doing more than one doctorate is almost unheard-of today.
Charles, E. (2019). Decolonizing the Curriculum. Insights: the UKSG journal, 32(1). https://insights.uksg.org/articles/10.1629/uksg.475/
Kenber, B. (April 12, 2021). It’s elitist to mark down bad spelling, universities insist. Thetimes.co.uk. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/its-elitist-to-mark-down-bad-spelling-universities-insist-bmw5j2jlf
Hull. (2021). Introducing the University of Hull’s Inclusive Assessment, Marking and Feedback Policy | University of Hull. Web.archive.org. Retrieved 21 May, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20210411140702/https://www.hull.ac.uk/choose-hull/study-at-hull/teaching-academy/news/introducing-the-university-of-hulls-inclusive-assessment-marking-and-feedback-policy
UAL. UAL. (2021). Retrieved May 12, 2021. https://www.arts.ac.uk/