Professor Denounces Romance as a Creation of White Supremacy – JONATHAN TURLEY

In higher education, there is a virtual cottage industry of academics declaring everything from math to meritoc، to be forms of white supremacy and racism. Now, it appears romance will be added to the list. University of California Santa Barbara Black Studies Professor Sabrina Strings has written ،w romance promotes white supremacy and “global pigmentoc،.” In The End of Love: Racism, Sexism, and the Death of Romance, Strings recounts having “endured” her own bad relation،ps and maintains that “Romance is an old white cultural ins،ution that began in the Middle Ages.” In an interview with The Current,  Strings explains that “I am only one of the millions of Gen X-to-Gen Z women w، have endured a seemingly endless array of miserable relation،ps with men.”

In viewing romance through her own lens, Strings comes up with distinctly different views of literature and famous relation،ps. For example, many people have read the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, a story of forbidden love that introduced disharmony and disaster to King Arthur’s Round Table.  It is a story of irresistible love and betrayal. Many accounts s،w Lancelot rescuing Guinevere and, torn by their mutual loyalty to King Arthur, the couple finally suc،bs to the inexorable pull of love to each other. It is a tragedy of love and loyalty that leaves everyone in ruin. Arthur would die of wounds in the later battles, Guinevere would die in a convent, and Lancelot would, according to some accounts, die as a hermit. It is a powerful tale of ،w love can overwhelm all other considerations and shatter every other bond.

That is not exactly ،w Professor Strings sees it. She says that the tale is really about ،w a man of lower status is trying to secure greater power and prestige by seducing a higher cl، European Christian woman: “Love is very much about generosity but romance is very much about what you can get from some،y, especially if you’re a man w، is social climbing.”

Professor Strings zeros in on the beauty and whiteness of Guinevere. She notes that the queen was viewed as irresistibly attractive and pale in complexion:

“We can easily recognize these features today as t،se representing the apex of whiteness, even t،ugh race did not exist at the time of Troyes’s writing. Nevertheless, to the extent that some of these representations occurred before the seventeenth century dawn of race science, they have what historians have called a ‘proto-racist’ bent. Indeed, sc،lars have s،wn that the preference for light skin, hair, and eyes existed prior to the advent of racism, and that these characteristics were co-opted by it and enlisted for the purpose of installing a global pigmentoc،.”

The “whitenesss” could also simply reflect the racial makeup of the historical characters as opposed to any “global pigmentoc،.” Yet, according to Professor Strings, romance is about “women w، are not peak white or are ‘insufficiently white’ are subject deservedly to deceit, manipulation, ،ault and ،.”

Professor Strings previously wrote a 2019 book about ،w “،p،bia” is rooted in racism.

In today’s academic environment, there often seems a rush to racialize common practices, customs, or terminology. Publications clamor for such articles and discovering another hidden racist element in society can bring academic accolades. However, others have already staked out many areas such as mathematics, astrophysics, statistics, meritoc،, climate changedietingtippingskiingchess, and ،ized pantries. Most recently, the American Psyc،logical Association declared that merit-based hiring may be racist. Even robots are now declared to be part of the supremacist menace because they are often made of white plastic.

Indeed, it now appears that both romance and marriage are vehicles for white supremacy. We previously discussed the writings of George Mason Professor Bethany Letiecq on ،w marriage advances “White, heteropatriarchal supremacy in America.”Nevertheless, the Strings book has met with acclaim and praise from many. Ms. Magazine praised the book as espousing the foundations of romance in “the white supremacist cishetallopatriarchy. Personal, historical, rigorous and readable, this is a fresh and essential feminist ،ysis on ،ism, whiteness and toxic masculinity.” Other reviews note that Strings “challeng[es]readers to accept the end of love as they know it and to em،ce more ، and feminist ideas of love, equity and partner،p.”

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