Calls for Term 'Anglo-Saxon' to Be Banned Over 'Links to White Supremacists'
Liberal academics demand 'offensive' term to be scrubbed from history books
Academics are calling for the term "Anglo-Saxon" to be banned and scrubbed from history books over claims it is "racist" because white supremacists allegedly use it to describe British white people.
Anglo-Saxon is "bound up with white supremacy," academics argue, and should be replaced with a "more inclusive" term; "early English."
For hundreds of years, Anglo-Saxon has traditionally referred to groups from Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands who settled in Britain at the end of Roman rule around 1600 years ago.
However, early medieval England specialist Dr. Mary Rambaran-Olm, an independent scholar and author, claims the term is "racist" and should be banned.
The Canada-born academic, who now lives in Ireland, says previous objections to the term Dark Ages set a precedent.
"Generally, white supremacists use the term to make some sort of connection to their heritage (which is inaccurate) or to make associations with 'whiteness' but they also habitually misuse it to try and connect themselves to a warrior past," she told The Times.
According to the Daily Mail, Dr. Rambaran-Olm said people in early England – or "Englelond" – did not call themselves Anglo-Saxons but tended to refer to themselves as "Englisc" or "Anglecynn."
The academic said the term became more popular in the 18th and 19th centuries and was used to link white people to their "supposed origins."
Hitler wrote of the "Anglo-Saxon determination" to hold India, while imperialist Cecil Rhodes also regularly used the term.
John Overholt, curator of early books and manuscripts at Harvard's Houghton Library, backed a ban on the term.
"The term Anglo-Saxon is inextricably bound up with pseudohistorical accounts of white supremacy, and gives aid and comfort to contemporary white supremacists," he wrote on Twitter.
"Scholars of medieval history must abandon it."
Earlier this year the International Society of Anglo Saxonists took a poll of its 600 members.
60 percent of the group agreed to remove the reference to "Anglo-Saxon" from its name.
But Tom Holland, author of books including Athelstan: The Making of England, said the term was "inextricably bound up with the claim by Alfred ... to rule as a shared Anglian-Saxon identity."
"Scholars must be free to use it," he said.
In a tweet, he wrote of the idea to ditch the term Anglo-Saxon:
"Mad as a bag of ferrets, as they say in Deira [a former kingdom]."