By Emma Colton
“White people should commit suicide as an ethical act,” said a quote in a slide for a presentation hosted by Duquesne University psychology professor Derek Hook.
Professor of Psychology at Duquesne University Derek Hook, defends the quote “white people should commit suicide as an ethical act” as an “opportunity” to “castrate whiteness”.
This is part of an “anti-racist” discussion on “nice white therapists” held by AAPCSW. pic.twitter.com/IL839IjUCV
— Mythinformed MKE (@MythinformedMKE) August 25, 2021
In the lecture, which was presented to Baltimore-based American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work in June, Hook quoted a South African philosophy professor, Terblanche Delport, who has written about White people committing suicide in South Africa, before further discussing the comments and arguing “there was something ethical in Delport’s statements.”
“The reality [in South Africa] is that most white people spend their whole lives only engaging black people in subservient positions …. My question is then how can a person not be racist if that’s the way they live their lives? The only way then for white people to become part of Africa is to not exist as white people anymore,” Hook says, quoting Delport on a slide in the lecture.
“If the goal is to dismantle white supremacy, and white supremacy is white culture … then the goal has to be to dismantle white culture and ultimately white people themselves. The total integration into Africa by white people will also automatically then mean the death of white people as white as a concept would not exist anymore,” the quote continued.
After reading the quotes, Hook said, “I want to suggest that psychoanalytically we could even make the argument that there was something ethical in Delport’s statements.”
Hook added that Delport may have dramatized some of his comments and noted he is a “fighter academic,” but, “nevertheless, I want to make the argument that there is some kind of ethical dimension to his, his provocations.”
“I think that Delport took his White audience to the threshold of a type of symbolic extinction … he took them to a proposed end of whiteness,” Hook said, adding that Delport “offered his White audience the opportunity to” contemplate “the castration of whiteness.”
The clip of the lecture has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Twitter, with many reactions being negative. Some critics described Delport’s and Hook’s comments as “pure evil” and “racist,” while others questioned why a Catholic university would employ a professor with such views.
Duquesne University pushed back on the criticisms and claims, telling Fox News, that Hook “did not make a statement advocating anything like what was suggested.”
“In fact, he said that the statement in question was ‘crazy’,” the statement added. “Professor Hook also said that the provocateur who used this example was wrong in suggesting any such radical action. The words being circulated were simply lifted out of context to distort the actual comments. Saying that Professor Hook called for anything like the words in question is false.”
“While some of the content in the recording certainly contained troubling elements if taken alone, the full discussion only references the work of another person (Terblanche Delport, as the slides indicate) and the extreme proposition in the context of post-Apartheid South Africa.”
“Duquesne University is a Catholic institution that condemns any suggestion that suicide is to be advocated or endorsed in any form,” the statement continued.