A Black student, Nissy Aya, at Columbia said, “It's traumatizing to sit in Core classes. We are looking at history through the lens of these powerful, white men. I have no power or agency as a black woman, so where do I fit in?”
Dennis Prager claimed that Columbia made a mistake listening to her and following her lead. http://www.creators.com/opinion/dennis-prager/a-response-to-a-black-student-at-columbia.html
He said that Columbia should keep up pushing the laurels of the great white men, because it would be sad if someone missed learning about these men.
I doubt that Nissy was asking for that. She wanted balance. She didn't want to throw out the baby with the bath water.
I’m more in line with Nissy. I attend a group (all women except for me) where we look at stories about Zen woman. It provides some balance for me.
There are extraordinary examples of great women and people of color that students could study in their core curriculum. Prager is just defending the establishment.
I remember when I was at a meeting at the College Art Assocation around 1971 and Jansen was there (author of the leading text for Art History I & II)… someone asked him why there were no women artists in his book (or very few). He got up and walked out.
I came to learn from Beaumont Newhall’s photo history that he wasn’t writing about the famous photographers as much as he was deciding who will be remembered and will be forgotten.
History sometimes forgets some of the heroes of the past. So it has to be nudged to correct the inaccuracies.