Lindsay Johns makes the argument that the western literary canon should be taught to everyone:

But here’s the ruband the main reason why I come to praise dead white men, not to bury them: the overwhelming majority of black thought and literature of the last 400 years, by simple dint of the painful exigencies of human history, is devoted to chronicling man’s inhumanity to man.

Naturally, if someone has me in shackles, is holding a gun to my head and denying me my basic human rights because of the colour of my skin, I would choose to firstly devote my intellectual energies to addressing that injustice. But it is undeniable that man’s inhumanity to man is only one part of the human condition.

The dead white men never had to face the evils of slavery or the physical and emotional oppression of racism. Thus their minds were freer to range over the great philosophical questions, metaphysical quandaries and cosmological dilemmas. In short, they have been allowed to address man in relation to the macrocosm, as opposed to just the microcosm.

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