Letter to the Editor: Re: ‘Western philosophy alienates black people’

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Zach Ienatsch

Dear Editor,

I want to applaud columnist Jacob Montgomery for his column “Western Philosophy Alienates Black People.” Mr. Montgomery tackles an important and awkward conversation currently understated in the classroom. He is correct in the assessment that philosophers of Color are not represented sufficiently and thus make it more difficult for students of Color to feel welcome in the academic setting.

While I don’t want to disparage the value of studying the well-known European thinkers, the overemphasis of Western philosophy in American academia is not only limiting but antithetical to the nature of philosophy itself. The benefits of studying Black philosophers, Eastern philosophers, and other underrepresented thinkers not only benefits students who identify the same way but all students, who are sure to gain a greater perspective of the word and philosophical thought beyond what Immanuel Kant can provide.

Mr. Montgomery lists several Black writers, including Angela Davis, W.E.B. Du Bois, and James Baldwin. All of these candidates (among others) deserve our attention in philosophy education; Not just as a separate course in Black philosophy, but as a cornerstone of intro classes as well.

Mr. Montgomery is also correct in asserting that books are not the only medium philosophy that should expose itself to potential learners. Several other fields, including journalism, have been proactive about adapting the profession and education to multiple media. Philosophy, being as universal and ubiquitous as it is, needs to meet the same standard, both at Texas State University and elsewhere. Imagine the scope of philosophical thought if everyone had the opportunity to participate. We will all become better thinkers, writers, and people when these doors are open wide.

Zach Ienatsch

University Star Opinions Editor 2018

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