“Why did I have to listen in music humanities to this Mozart?” she groused in a discussion of the curriculum reported by David Denby in his book on Columbia’s core. “My problem with the core is that it upholds the premises of white supremacy and racism. It’s a racist core. Who is this Mozart, this Haydn, these superior white men? There are no women, no people of color.”
These are not the idiosyncratic thoughts of one disgruntled student; they represent the dominant ideology in the humanities today. Columbia not only failed to disabuse the student of such parochialism; it is also all but certain that some of its faculty strengthened her in her close-mindedness, despite the school’s admirable commitment to its beleaguered core.