An Oxford University professor has rebuked Cambridge for what he called discrimination against white, conservative men.
Nigel Biggar, a Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at Oxford, argued that the much-trumpeted value of inclusiveness was misconstrued in the targeting of Jordan Peterson, to an extent that he was actually excluded.
“If you’re non-white, female, and aggressively ‘woke’, then you’ll be accorded maximal benefit of doubt, given a pass on official norms of civility, let free to spit hatred and contempt on social media, and permitted (probably) to malform and intimidate students,” he said.
“However, if you’re white, male, culturally conservative, and given to expressing reasoned doubt about prevailing mores, you’ll be given no benefit of doubt at all. And, should you do so much as appear to transgress ill-conceived norms of inclusiveness, you’ll be summarily and rudely excluded.”
Peterson in February was granted a visiting fellowship by Cambridge University’s Divinity Faculty, which was rescinded a month later.
University officials explained they made the decision after Peterson was photographed at one of his events alongside a man wearing a T-shirt with the slogan ‘I’m a proud Islamophobe’.
Professor Biggar suggested that Cambridge University pulled its offer under pressure from students, given that the Students Union was first to announce the news while an official statement from the university came later.
Secondly, Biggar argued, the reasoning was rather vague, since Peterson himself has not been caught endorsing Islamophobia and wasn’t given an opportunity to offer an explanation.
The Canadian YouTube star himself acknowledged that he “glanced” at the T-shirt in question and didn’t like the word ‘Islamophobic’ because he considered it to be propagandistic, but felt that the man had the right to wear it because of his right to freedom of opinion.
Nigel Biggar maintained that this was not enough to punish Peterson: “What about the damning evidence that was supposed to explain how Peterson had violated the norm of inclusiveness — namely, by casually endorsing Islamophobia? One question this raises is how exactly ‘Islamophobia’ differs from criticism of Islam, since it’s a common ploy these days to dismiss any criticism as ‘phobic’, just as many Zionists dismiss any criticism of Israeli government policy as ‘anti-Semitic’.”
“The banal truth is that the photo was just one of 30,000 taken with fans at live events in the past fifteen months,” he added.
Biggar recounted how his own interdisciplinary project, called Ethics and Empire, has provoked criticism from many of his colleagues for promulgating the notion that “the Empire also achieved great good”.
On British Empire, I don't doubt it contained moments of great wrongdoing. But so do all large-scale, longstanding human enterprises. And like most such enterprises, the Empire also achieved great good, too. How to make an all-things-considered judgment is an interesting task. https://t.co/FWaJ5ahRJ5— nigel biggar (@NigelBiggar) 12 января 2019 г.
He recalled how Dr. Priyamvada Gopal from Cambridge called his project “serious sh*t”, while others branded it “supremacist” and “racist”.
According to Biggar, the University defended Dr. Gopal, citing her right to freedom of speech – however, it appears that it’s not the case with Jordan Peterson.
“When one puts Cambridge University’s serial inaction in the case of Dr. Gopal alongside its precipitate action in the case of Professor Peterson, what is revealed is this: the University does in fact discriminate on the unjustifiable grounds of race, gender, and above all morals and politics,” he wrote.