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A Cambridge education

“Cambridge professors fight plan to let students file secret racism denunciations”, reports the Times.

For David Abulafia, a distinguished professor of Mediterranean history at Cambridge, the launch of a university “reporting tool” encouraging students to denounce people for “micro-aggressions” was particularly sinister.

An ancestor, Samuel Abulafia, was arrested in the 15th century during the Spanish Inquisition for maintaining Jewish practices after Jews had been expelled from the country. The man eventually changed his name to Lopez so that no one would recognise his origins. Another Abulafia was one of the first to be burnt by the Inquisition for the same crime.

Today Abulafia, a bestselling author and historian, believes that the new tool allowing students anonymously to accuse members of faculty of “racism, discrimination and micro-aggressions” draws from the same well that gave birth to the barbaric Inquisition.

The list provided by the university of transgressions includes “raising eyebrows when a black member of staff or student is speaking” and making “backhanded compliments”

Professor Abulafia also makes the following point:

“As for reporting someone if you feel they have committed a micro-aggression against you, this may actually hinder minorities as lecturers could be apprehensive about providing them with one-to-one tuition in case they make a perceived transgression.

For the Woke, that is not a bug but a feature. The last thing they want is for minority students to flourish at Cambridge or any other British university. Where would the cadre come from then? The plan is for minority students to emerge angry and embittered at the way their tutors and lecturers never seemed to quite trust them.

13 comments to A Cambridge education

  • Stonyground

    We need there to be lots of racism. There are a small number of racists who are universally despised. These people don’t provide anything like enough racism for our anti racism agenda. The bar is now so low that it is basically lying on the floor. The only solution is to lower the bar to about seventy feet below sea level. There you go, racism everywhere.

  • bobby b

    Flood the zone. Adopt their philosophy as your own. Every non-woke student needs to start reporting within that new system on every woke professor’s perceived (or imagined) transgressions.

    “Prof A failed to wink at me this morning, shattering my self-image.” “Prof B let his hand linger over his notebook as I was speaking, which was disrespectful of my race.” “Prof C called on another student even though my hand went up first, and that student was trans and I am not.” “Prof D called Lincoln a “bad man”, making assumptions about Lincoln’s gender self-image.”

    They’ll tire of such crap quickly, I would guess. Failing that, the rest of us will at least have fun.

  • making “backhanded compliments”

    That ‘insufficient grovelling is racist’ I already knew, but ‘backhandedness in a compliment’ poses particular difficulties. Does praising someone’s counting ability count as the latest woke chic or a very backhanded compliment indeed?

    “raising eyebrows when a black member of staff or student is speaking”

    Orwell called this kind of thing ‘facecrime’. It is not a new idea for ‘anti’-racists in the UK, of course. The BBC’s election night visuals for Margaret Thatcher’s last election victory (1987) were literally unable to show Tory gains, so sure had they been that they need only design the visuals to show seats the Tories lost. Afterwards, there was some suggestion that maybe a recent loud accusation that it was ‘racist body-language’ to glance at your watch while a person of colour was speaking at length had undermined the attractiveness of Labour to some voters.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
    Except those who know better, like Professor Abulafia.

    He is dear to me, because i read his book, “The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms, 1200-1500” (published 1997), about the struggle between the houses of Aragon and Anjou, mainly over control of Southern Italy and Sicily.
    Not quite as gripping as Agatha Christie or Game of Thrones, but quite a good read.

  • Bladedoc

    If this is truly anonymous the answer is every professor at the university needs to file charges against every other professor. That will absolutely crash the system.

  • bobby b

    Niall, when thinking how a backhanded compliment can offend in the woke sense, I think of Biden, back in 2007, saying of Obama “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

  • John Lewis

    This was doing the rounds on Twitter a day or two ago:-

    History is not there for you to like or dislike, it is there for you to learn from, and if it offends you even better because you are less likely to repeat it. It’s not yours to erase or destroy, it belongs to all of us”.

    Not exactly on topic here, for which I apologise, but still worth sharing.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    “Cambridge professors fight plans”? Who are these professors? We want names, now! And they’d better all be white males. You would almost think that you were living in Nazi Europe, when dobbing in your neighbours anonymously was a sport!

  • Paul Marks

    This is the “Diversity and Inclusion Agenda” in action – anything can be a “micro aggression”.

    The idea of the Frankfurt School of Marxism (“Woke”) types who now control most universities (indeed control must institutions generally) is for everyone to LIVE IN FEAR – that there might be an accusation against them.

    Cambridge used to be famous for eccentric academics (and eccentric students) – now everyone will have to be a good little Marxist, not taking one step out of line.

  • Paul Marks


    Bloomberg television today is talking about “increasing Diversity in the Board Room and other senior positions” – i.e. people being put in charge on the basis of the colour of their skin. Not on the basis of talent or hard work – as such things are evil “whiteness” which favour “straight, white males” – which is in-its-self a racist and sexist and homophobic claim – as it is implying that white, straight men are more talented and hard working (talent and hard work being evil). So Bloomberg television should attack itself for racism, sexism and homophobia. And why no mention of Transphobia? Surely there should be Transexuals on the board of every major corporation – and clearly they should be disabled, and have Hispanic names. If a person knows anything about the business or shows a desire to find out – then they must be BANNED from any senior management position – this is the way of the “Woke”.

    Japanese English language news reported today that there is an increasing interest in the ideas of KARL MARX in Japan.

    An academic was put on the screen to tell everyone that “capitalism” is no good for “the environment” and had failed during the “pandemic” (look at the death figures for Japan – there has been no real pandemic, but they pretend there has been one).

    The position that Marxism is good for “the environment” is absurd, and the ideas of Karl Marx (on everything) were a collection of fallacies, but no one is allowed to point this out in opposition to the academic on the television screen.

    The young Japanese are encouraged to read the works of Karl Marx – but NOT encouraged to read the works of people who showed that Karl Marx was writing nonsense.

    I suspect that young Japanese would fit into Cambridge University (with its new crushing conformity) very well.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Cambridge used to be famous for eccentric academics (and eccentric students)

    Not without good reasons.

    BTW David Abulafia, in his book mentioned above, devotes a couple of pages to another ancestor, Abraham ben Samuel Abulafia, who was quite an eccentric scholar himself.
    Apparently he tried to meet Pope Nicholas III, “probably to reveal himself as the Messiah awaited by the Jews.” Unfortunately, Pope Nicholas died while Abraham was waiting to meet him.

    Abraham Abulafia, the book informs me, is mentioned in Joyce’s Ulysses and Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray writes,

    “Cambridge professors fight plans”? Who are these professors? We want names, now! And they’d better all be white males. You would almost think that you were living in Nazi Europe, when dobbing in your neighbours anonymously was a sport!

    As a matter of fact besides Professor David Abulafia, mentioned above, two out of the three other academics mentioned in the article as opposing Vice Chancellor Toope’s proposals are Sir Partha Dasgupta, a professor of the economics of poverty and nutrition, and Arif Ahmed, a reader in philosophy.

    The latter is quoted as saying,

    “Individual liberty is the most important value that western society has. We’re not on our way to the gulag, but another form of despotism is already here. It’s Lilliputian oppression, like Gulliver being held down by lots of small ropes — there is this constant encroachment which is impossible to evade. This tool’s definition of racism is so divisive and obviously absurd.”

    Sir Partha made a similar point in more popular language:

    “I come from India and I have been around. I just think sometimes we belittle ourselves — it’s not the greatest of societies but it’s a damn good one.

    “Suppose a senior and junior colleague are engaged in a joint research project, working through the calculations, and the senior person says, ‘That’s a stupid idea’ — that’s common place, a very natural way of conversing, what if they decide to use that against them? It curtails the free flow of ideas.”

  • CaptDMO

    SEE: “Oleanna”-David Mamet
    Oddly, “school” productions are as rare to find as “The Crucible” these days.
    BOTH are what happens when cautionary tales become instruction manuals, and the worst of the offending “activism” leadership walks away, leaving the dupes to take the heat.