A dispute broke out between two professors at Cambridge University over the use of “eloquent”, to describe Black presenters.
David Abulafia was an Italian historian and best-selling author. He wrote about how protesters were acquitted for property damage following the removal of the statue of Edward Colston (a prominent slave trader) in Bristol. Alubafia’s article, published in the Telegraph, talked about “the eloquent David Olusoga,” who testified on Colston’s career.
Priyamvada, an Indian postcolonial scholar at Churchill College, reacted strongly to the op-ed. She criticized Abulafia’s writing of a weak article that only “few undergraduates produce.”
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“Calling writers/scholars/intellectuals of color‘ eloquent’ or ‘articulate’ – e.g Abulafia on Olusoga – can quite often be a little sleight of hand dismissal,” Gopal Twitter. “‘Yeah yes, it’s a fun game and people will like it. However, all you do is stir up passions.
Abulafia countered the accusation during an interview with student newspaper Varsity, saying that Gopal’s tweets were “insulting or potentially libelous.”
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Abulafia stated, “I’ve never heard of the term eloquent being associated with racism.”
He said, “David Olusoga is a remarkable communicator. I love that tremendously.” “On the other hand he’s further along the spectrum when it comes to his acceptance of critical race theory, much further along the spectrum towards Professor Gopal obviously than I am, so I disagree with him.”
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“I believe the word eloquent should be used.”
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“I do worry about the deep divisions that seem to have opened up in history between those who espouse activist views and those who don’t with an enormous number in the middle who feel intimidated,” Abulafia said.