A Cambridge University Professor has been accused of racism after describing a black historian and television presenter as “eloquent.” Priyamvada Gopal teaches postcolonial studies at Churchill College. She accused her colleague David Abulafia of dismissing writers of colour after he used the word eloquent in reference to David Olusoga, the black history professor and broadcaster.
According to The Times:
Abulafia, a bestselling author and historian, had published an article about the acquittal of the protesters who toppled the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol in 2020. Olusoga testified at the trial. Abulafia argued that “the choice of targets” by protesters avoided “those who are icons of the left”.
Gopal, who led a recently disbanded group set up to examine Winston Churchill’s views on race and empire, described her colleague’s work on Twitter as a “weak” article that “few undergrads” would submit in their first week. She added: “Calling writers/scholars/intellectuals of colour ‘eloquent’ or ‘articulate’ — e.g Abulafia on Olusoga — can quite often be a little sleight of hand dismissal.”
Abulafia told the student newspaper Varsity that Gopal’s tweets were “insulting or potentially libellous”. He said: “I have never heard the use of the word eloquent being linked to racism.”
Is that where we are heading? Should white people refrain from complimenting a person of colour lest they be accused of using backhanded compliments, micro-aggressions or racism?
If I’m asked for my opinion of a black person and I say that I think the person is bright or articulate, can I expect outrage?
This takes gaslighting to new levels. Abulafia should sue Gopal if she doesn’t apologise to him.
You can hear his take on the row. He spoke to LBC’s Nick Ferrari earlier.
A Cambridge professor at the centre of a war of words with a colleague after he described a black presenter as 'eloquent' has told LBC he would use the word again.@NickFerrariLBC pic.twitter.com/q9RuF2XwS3
— LBC (@LBC) January 12, 2022