A video surfaced this week showing a professor at a Catholic university in Pennsylvania telling students that there are valid reasons as to why it’s ethical for white people to kill themselves in the fight against racism.
During the June lecture, Duquesne University psychology professor Derek Hook displayed a slide that stated “White people should commit suicide as an ethical act.” He referenced South African philosophy professor Terblanche Delport, who previously wrote about white people committing suicide in South Africa.
“The reality [in South Africa] is that most white people spend their whole lives only engaging black people in subservient positions …. My question is then how can a person not be racist if that’s the way they live their lives? The only way then for white people to become part of Africa is to not exist as white people anymore,” Hook says, quoting Delport during the lecture, which was presented to the American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work. Video of the lecture was shared on Twitter.
“If the goal is to dismantle white supremacy, and white supremacy is white culture … then the goal has to be to dismantle white culture and ultimately white people themselves. The total integration into Africa by white people will also automatically then mean the death of white people as white as a concept would not exist anymore,” the quote continued.
After quoting Delport, the professor suggests that “psychoanalytically we could even make the argument that there was something ethical in Delport’s statements.” Hook said that while Delport’s comments are dramatized, he wants “to make the argument that there is some kind of ethical dimension to his, his provocations.”
“I think that Delport took his White audience to the threshold of a type of symbolic extinction … he took them to a proposed end of whiteness,” Hook continues, adding that the South African philosophy professor “offered his White audience the opportunity – one they didn’t seem to appreciate for the most part – but the opportunity to contemplate what we could call the castration of whiteness.”
The video circulated on Twitter, accruing hundreds of thousands of views. Critics called the professor’s comments “pure evil” and “racist.”
Duquesne University later told Fox News that Hook “did not make a statement advocating anything like what was suggested.”
“In fact, he said that the statement in question was ‘crazy’,” the statement added. “Professor Hook also said that the provocateur who used this example was wrong in suggesting any such radical action. The words being circulated were simply lifted out of context to distort the actual comments. Saying that Professor Hook called for anything like the words in question is false.”
“While some of the content in the recording certainly contained troubling elements if taken alone, the full discussion only references the work of another person (Terblanche Delport, as the slides indicate) and the extreme proposition in the context of post-Apartheid South Africa,” the school’s statement continued. “Duquesne University is a Catholic institution that condemns any suggestion that suicide is to be advocated or endorsed in any form.”