poetry Professor Bullhead & Critical Race Theory
Professor Bullhead & Critical Race Theory
By Peter Neil Carroll
“…a new scientific truth does not triumph by
convincing its opponents…but rather because
its opponents eventually die and a new
generation grows up….” --Max Planck
He was soft-spoken, it seemed
when we first met, this son of
the Osage nation, introduced
to me by a mentor we shared.
They were drinking Bourbon
at the hotel bar, headquarters
of the annual historical convention
at Chicago’s posh Palmer House.
Bullhead was about 30, though his
smooth skin may have made him look
younger. He knew a lot more history
than I did, but he was still seeking a job.
We met again a few years later, young
instructors, similar interests, but he was
still untenured looking for a safe niche.
He told me he had a plan to get promoted.
After the usual delays, he presented his plan
to the giants of our profession. Why not,
he asked, offer a course on Native American
history equivalent to ancient or medieval history?
Insults began before he finished. Dumb idea.
Worthless. How could Indians who spoke
Algonquin be compared to Cicero or Duns Scotus?
Besides, a new course would reduce enrollments.
Bullhead interrupted the outrage and withdrew
his proposal, walked quietly to the door, then
slammed it shut like a blast of an atom bomb.
No one ever changed their minds, spoke regrets.
Peter Neil Carroll's newest collection of poetry is Something is Bound to Break (Main Street Press). He is a frequent contributor to poetry journals and online publications.