Black Students Say They Feel Left Out by ‘White Cliques’ at Universities

Jeevan Vasagar, The Observer (London), May 22, 2011

University coursework should be marked anonymously to deal with concerns that potential bias against a “foreign-sounding name” can cost students marks, a report by the National Union of Students recommends.

The report also urges universities to minimise “eurocentric bias” when drawing up curriculums. “This is critical, not only to demonstrate to black students that their learning reflects their own experience, but to promote understanding among their white peers,” it states.

It is standard practice for universities to assess exams anonymously because of concerns about preconceptions relating to race, sex or previous knowledge of a candidate, but the NUS report calls for anonymity to be extended across all “assessment procedures”, which would include coursework.

The NUS–which accepts that it is not possible to keep every form of assessment, such as presentations by drama students, anonymous–is also urging universities to address concerns about bias by having any contested work reassessed by a different lecturer.

The report, Race for Equality, is based on a survey of 900 students with African, Asian and Caribbean backgrounds. The survey found that, while most students were positive about their institutions, 23% described the universities they attended as “cliquey” and 7% as “racist”. There was also widespread frustration that courses did not reflect non-white backgrounds and views.

A third of black students felt unable to bring a perspective based on their race to tutorials. One student quoted in the report, published today, criticised the university they attended for “not being able to express or hear [our] own experience in learning–especially with a discipline as subjective as English, being told ‘you are wrong’ at the slightest transgression from the norm”.

Many of the students surveyed called for more diverse perspectives in areas such as history, arts and politics. One said: “Britain colonised most of the world and played a heavy role in the slave trade. How can you understand contemporary Britain without acknowledging this history or understanding how the rest of the world shaped it?”

The survey also found that some black students believe they are being “actively excluded” from the Russell Group of leading universities because of institutional racism in the application process. However, others blamed the scarcity of black students at the most prestigious institutions on class, and a lack of achievement at school.

Among black students, just 9.6% achieved the top grades required for entrance to Oxford or Cambridge in 2007, compared with 23% for white students.

The report says: “While widening participation efforts in the last few decades has been successful, these need to extend beyond simply increasing the quantity of students accessing [higher education] towards ensuring that black students are also able to access quality institutions.”

The report notes that in 2007-08, London Metropolitan University accepted 6,115 black students, “almost as many as the 7,815 black students spread between the 20 universities of the Russell Group”.

Some respondents to the survey and the focus groups that accompanied it said they had chosen to attend institutions that were ethnically diverse to minimise the chances of experiencing racism.

The report adds: “There was also a perception among respondents that the probability of experiencing racism in a Russell Group institution would be higher, as there would be fewer black students in these institutions, making the black students who study there more vulnerable.”

Universities should create a “bespoke website” for prospective black students, which could include testimonies from their students and details of support systems and extracurricular activities, the report suggests.

Nearly one in six–16%–of those who responded to the survey said they had experienced racism in their current educational institution. The proportion was lowest among those aged under 20–14%–and highest among mature students. The survey finds that 29% of those aged 40 and over had experienced racism. International students were also more likely to view their academic environment as racist.

The NUS president, Aaron Porter, said: “We have a long way to go to close the participation gap for black students in education. If black students feel unwelcome in classrooms, this must be addressed by tackling the very real racism that still exists on our campuses.

“This report highlights the work that must be done by institutions and government to address the concerns of black students about their learning environment, how their courses are taught, and how their unique perspectives can be brought into the academic environment.”

The survey also found that almost one in three students, 32%, did not trust their institution to deal with complaints fairly. Two-thirds of respondents who had made a complaint were dissatisfied with how it was handled. They cited a range of reasons, including the procedure being too time-consuming or the complaint being ignored.

Some of those who responded to the survey believed that academic staff “stick together” and that making a complaint could therefore jeopardise their prospects. One student said: “It’s staff against you, and your degree is on the line, so you don’t feel like doing anything further that would rock the boat, especially when the person is responsible for marking your work and arranging your placements.”

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  • Blaak Obongo

    Whine, whine, whine. Everything not specifically tailored to coloreds is Racist by definition.

    Hey, I have an idea — I’m going to demand that I be praised and petted and promoted at all levels in “African, Asian and Caribbean” countries. Think they’ll take me seriously? Think the western governmedia will care?

    “One student said: “It’s staff against you, and your degree is on the line, so you don’t feel like doing anything further that would rock the boat, especially when the person is responsible for marking your work and arranging your placements.”

    I have news for you, whiner: that’s how university is. And that’s how it has always been, for everyone, no matter what their race. But I guess as a Student of Colour, you think you should be treated with more tender attention. Why not try returning to your own country, then, where you won’t have to worry about all that Evil Racism that you’re so certain is lurking under every desk?

  • Tim Mc Hugh

    “minimise Eurocentric bias when drawing up curriculums”

    There is a famous line from a book (1984?) that I never understood or appreciated until right now. It`s the one that goes, “The good party member should be able to rattle off the correct slogans as easily as a machine gun fires bullets”. It appears that day and moment have arrived…

  • Ted

    It is not their limited imagaination at work here.

    They Are Not Wanted around.

    The government can make it possible for a person with an IQ of 90 to get into college BUT they can’t force people whose culture is so different to welcome these invaders with open arms.

    Not Yet At Least ..

  • Joe

    There are places I go that I feel less welcome than at others, what I do is stop going where I think I am not appreciated.

    But with a black (invasion) into places they are not welcome is a way of life. They come, they pervert, they destroy what had been good, then move on to their next victim.

  • Anonymous

    University professors are some of the most liberal people on the planet, especially in the humanities. It’s pretty telling that blacks feel the need to accuse even this radical left set of “racism.”

    It’s ironic that the one group — teachers — who are by and large the single most far left and racially “sensitive” group of people in our society are the ones who take the most abuse for being racists. They are on the front lines coming face to face with the reality of racial difference every day, so they get to the be the whipping boys whenever blacks can’t keep up. Don’t they ever get tired of it? The endless pandering and then inevitably having it thrown right back in their faces along with an insult?

  • Mazzon Dixzzon, it’s dark down here, and dangerous!

    Before giving any money to anybody, especially your church or alma mater, research what they have to say about Diversity. If they laud themselves for “making advancements at bringing the valuable contributions of enriching Diversity to our community,” you need to automatically boycott the community and never give anything, except contempt and scorn.

    Find a way to force the Whites who say or believe such hostile and dangerously anti-white poison to explain why they haven’t exported their White Diversity into shamefully and suspiciously non diverse, non white communities.

    Our Victory Will Be In Holding Our White Enemies Accountable To Their Love Of Diversity- force them to act on what they say! If they don’t, you can always call them “racist” and you’d be right.

    If we aren’t allowed any benefits from our racism, they should get any for theirs!

  • Tim in Indiana

    University coursework should be marked anonymously to deal with concerns that potential bias against a “foreign-sounding name” can cost students marks, a report by the National Union of Students recommends.

    Who are the real racists here? This student union is so obsessed with race that they think there is latent racism in practically everyone (everyone who’s white, that is) and that drastic and complex methods are needed to deal with it. Who is really driven by racial obsession here?

    “Britain colonised most of the world and played a heavy role in the slave trade. How can you understand contemporary Britain without acknowledging this history or understanding how the rest of the world shaped it?”

    Is this student calling for an examination of slavery in all parts of the world and by all races? No! Of course not! Only Britain must be held up for examination. More blatant racism.

    And how about this gem:

    One student quoted in the report, published today, criticised the university they attended for “not being able to express or hear [our] own experience in learning—especially with a discipline as subjective as English, being told ‘you are wrong’ at the slightest transgression from the norm”.

    Yes, how dare universities hold up standards of right and wrong? It must be racist!

    But the kicker is:

    The report also urges universities to minimise “eurocentric bias” when drawing up curriculums. “This is critical, not only to demonstrate to black students that their learning reflects their own experience, but to promote understanding among their white peers,” it states.

    If they dislike “Eurocentric bias” so much, why would they want to go to a historically white university (if there is such a term)? Why don’t they attend a “historically black” university? Then they can promote any point of view they want.

    Do they not attend majority white universities because they see them as offering a superior education? And then they want to change the very things that made them superior in the first place.

  • Gloria

    “Demonstrate to black students that their learning reflects their own experience.”

    I thought that college was for learning things you didn’t already know, not for boosting your self-esteem. This sounds like Gabby Sidibe asking aloud why she doesn’t see more people like herself on the screen.

    “This report highlights the work that must be done by institutions and government to address the concerns of black students about their learning environment, how their courses are taught, and how their unique perspectives can be brought into the academic environment.”

    Considering that only 2.5% of black people have IQs over 115, how exactly do they expect to be taught anything besides how vibrant they are and how great their ancient Egyptian (LOL) forebears were?

  • Anonymous

    “One student quoted in the report, published today, criticised the university they attended for “not being able to express or hear [our] own experience in learning—especially with a discipline as subjective as English, being told ‘you are wrong’ at the slightest transgression from the norm”. ”

    That’s what all those US Department of Education feminazis

    mean when they talk about “normanative discourse” and non-normantive discourse”. The feminazis claim that non-normantive or incorrect English is good, normantive or standard English is bad.

    American Universitites have been doing this exact same thing for 50 years. Only in America it is the White professors who came up with the idea that no matter how stupid blacks are they must get straight A s simply because they are black and different from Whites.

  • Anonymous

    6 — Mazzon Dixzzon, it’s dark down here, and dangerous! wrote at 7:09 PM on May 25:

    Before giving any money to anybody, especially your church or alma mater, research what they have to say about Diversity. If they laud themselves for “making advancements at bringing the valuable contributions of enriching Diversity to our community,” you need to automatically boycott the community and never give anything, except contempt and scorn.

    Find a way to force the Whites who say or believe such hostile and dangerously anti-white poison to explain why they haven’t exported their White Diversity into shamefully and suspiciously non diverse, non white communities.

    ———————————————————

    Church and charities are all into diversity, even the Salvation Army has fallen for it all. I do not donate nor do I contribute anything to churches or charities because I have found that they all promote NONwhites and 3rd world “children” and all their causes.

  • sbuffalonative

    The end result will be the same solution as those for segregated schools and neighborhoods.

    Blacks can’t create their own stable institutions. They can only co opt and corrupt what white people have created.

    Blacks will demand integration. Once in, they will declare that the group doesn’t represent who they are. They will demand changes to rules, structure, mission statement, and leadership.

    In short order, the group (or school or neighborhood) is a shadow of it’s former self.

    Blacks can’t create their own stable institutions. They can only destroy what white people create.

  • Anonymous

    I’m kind of a pacifist, but I think that England needs anothe World WAR 2 to occupy itself. All these idiot intelellectuals could be sent off to factories and military cafeterias to keep them busy.

    Maybe the best thing would be to close down the entire education system and go back to tenant farming. We should not criticise Engand, we do the same thing.

  • white is right, black is whack

    Oh, I’m sorry, black people. Not enough ‘black student unions’ for you? Not enough black only professional chapters for you? “Black studies” and black affirmative action professors not cutting it for you either? Poor, little babies. Must be hard to have the laws and institutions on your side and to get preferences that the ‘racist white majority’ doesn’t get.

  • Howard W. Campbell

    “University coursework should be marked anonymously to deal with concerns that potential bias against a “foreign-sounding name” can cost students marks, a report by the National Union of Students recommends.”

    I’m sure that Henryk Wiktorowski is going to be beaten by Nunthepe Mfune every time. You started showing up in GB after 1948; it’s not as if you were carted there in the hold of a slave ship. BTW, the movement to end slavery was started by an Englishman, William Wilberforce. Slavery still exists in Africa.

    Simple solution: We have a lot of Historically Black Colleges and Universities here in the US. Most of them are located in the Southern states. Visit a few of them. Figure out how to start one of your own Universities and get away from the racist White Man. Trust me, we evil Whites will probably leave you alone.

  • Anonymous

    When I go to other countries, I also feel that they are not validating my feelings and have a bias towards their own cultures. I think China should teach more white history, and Zimbabwe should open its universities to white students, and Guatamala should work harder to import more minorities like me!

  • Justin

    ‘Eurocentric bias’

    So Black “Europeans” want to live in a European country, speak a European language, and study at a European university…yet they’re complaining about ‘Eurocentric Bias’? Give me a break…

    It’s so obvious Blacks want to be around us, no matter how much they complain about slavery, colonialism, the white man, etc. Notice how they’re the ones who push for integration, not us. We don’t want to live in their neighborhoods or go to there schools.

  • SecularRealistJew

    If a university in England is too “eurocentric”, what’s the problem with that? Last time I checked, England was a part of Europe!

    If you want an “afrocentric” university, then move to Johannesburg, Lagos or Nairobi. Otherwise, shut your yaps and deal with it!

  • diversity=adversity

    “A third of black studets felt unable to bring a perspective based on their race to tutorials” which part of that is not racist?

    Is it still “institutional racism” the boogyman that keeps blacks from studying? Not drugs though, right? And now they want their iliterate blaxk english to be the accepted norm? because somehow standard English is ‘racist’. Get this through your black head: you are wrong.

    “…students chose to attend institutions more entnically diverse to minimise exposure to racism” -what?

    “Imternational students more likely to view (white) acedemic environment as ‘racist’.” Because of the inherent cash cow.

    “…minimize ‘euro-centric bias’,… promote understanding among White peers.”

    “…courses did not reflect non-white backgrounds and views” – then why do they not go attend one of those “prestijus” Carribbean or African universities, unless… the whole reason for these Institutions success has been Eurocentrisim.

    I could pick apart the rest of this, but it is maddening and depressing. I can’t get into one of those Universities, even if my IQ were 165.

  • AWG (AVERAGE WHITE GUY)

    I attended a black high school and was left out of the black cliques.

    I didn’t care. I didn’t want to belong.

    Whites generally want nothing to do with black culture. (When was the last time you saw an African cuisine restaurant.) Blacks, on the other hand, want to invade everything White.

    Correction: The black students didn’t have cliques. They had gangs.

  • Anonymous

    Imagine living next to one of these blacks who sees everything you do as a racial slight and for whom every word on the syllabus is “disrespectful to his rich heritage”. If you weren’t a racist when you went there, you’d have to have the patience of a saint not to be when you graduated.

  • AVG (AVERAGE WHITE GUY)

    Translation:

    • Only non-Whites can have cliques.

    These include the Black MBA Association UK Ltd., African Caribbean Network, Black and Asian Studies Association (BASA), etc.

    • Only non-White heritage is to be valued.

    • Only non-White racism (usually contrived) is to be acknowledged.

  • Heritage Girl

    Minimize “eurocentric” bias? For the love of all that’s holy, they’re IN EUROPE!!

    So now, not only do they demand to be granted access to universities, and that they get special admissions privileges… now they have to change the curriculum so that it’s all about them and make rules so that the white people have to make them feel special?

    Stop the world, I want off.

  • Michael C. Scott

    If they feel left out by white cliques, perhaps it is because their own behavior provides white students an excellent reason to want to avoid them.

    Folks generally prefer the company of those who look like them, but ALWAYS prefer the company of people who act like them, instead of – for instance – egotistical, spoiled children.

  • Anonymous

    The real question you people aren’t dealing with is the obvious one: UK colleges, like our own, are major centers for R&D labwork at both the nation and industrial levels.

    What happens when you dumb down a college to the point where it is no longer functional as anything but a point of ‘cultural enrichment’?

    You create a demagogue’s paradise where contribution to the national economic and defense posture is no longer possible.

    Google ‘R&D To China’ and start reading about how the _final_ advantage of Western civilization, it’s high technology innovation is rapidly vanishing overseas.

    Blacks are stupid. White Elites are not. This trash is just a smoke screen to cover the massive dislocation and dispersal of advanced culture outside our hemisphere.

    There is a reason for it. And it is an evil one as far as whites are concerned, because we cannot hope to be anything but lessened at the benefit of others who do not deserve the products of our achievement.

    This is not a relay race. You don’t hand off the baton.

  • Michael C. Scott

    Universities aren’t the center of innovative R&D work, and they haven’t been for a long time, Anonymous (24). The laser was invented at Bell Labs; so was molecular beam epitaxy. The silicon transistor, light-emitting diode and gallium integrated circuit at Texas Instruments, and the silicon integrated circuit at Fairchild Semiconductor. The CT scan was invented in England, but at EMI Central Research Laboratories, and not at a university. The turbosupercharger and silicon-controlled rectifier were invented at General Electric.

    The real catastrophe that universities in the developed West are inflicting on themselves, their students and society as a whole is their creeping substitution of politically-correct dogma for genuine education, rather than merely continuing their own R&D irrelevance. A few generations of graduates who are unable to think for themselves will kill innovation even in industry, which is where science and engineering graduates usually end up.

  • Wulfstan

    In tandem with Obama’s “coronation” in front of a crowd of sychophantic Members of Parliament,we have had to endure the meddling of First Lady Michelle,who took it upon herself to drag a suitably diverse group of schoolgirls from the 99% black Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school in north London up to Oxford.The purpose of this excercise being to demonstrate the entitlement of non-whites to to the highest levels of education.

    I would be interested to know what the reaction would be in America if the wife of a foreign leader,say Vladimir Putin took a group of poor whites from West Virginia on a tour of Harvard.I think she would be told to “Go forth and multiply”.

  • Orion Blue

    There was also widespread frustration that courses did not reflect non-white backgrounds and views.

    There is no reason why Course Currucla should reflect Afro-centric issues, unless. The degree programme is in a disciple such as Black Studies.

    .