Special Reports

U.K. Professor Says 'Universities Produce Racism'


A U.K. professor has shared his thoughts on how universities and colleges actually promote racism. Dr. Kehinde Andrews is the first black studies professor in the nation.

The Guardian reported that Andrews is an associate professor at Birmingham City University (BCU). Last week, he told a Black History Month conference that universities are "no less institutionally racist than the police." He also criticized the curriculum for being overly "white."

"Universities produce racism," he said to the publication. "It's only since the 1960s there have been any black or Asian people - or women - at all."

Andrews emphasized that, in the past few years, there has been little challenge in ingrained attitudes and approaches. "Are universities producing knowledge that challenges racism? I would argue that they are not," he added.

A report by the Runnymede Trust last year revealed that universities have been "remarkably resilient to change in terms of curriculum, culture and staffing, remaining for the most part 'ivory towers' - with the emphasis on 'ivory.'" According to Andrews, there had been an "attainment gap" between white and non-white students even with ethnic minorities that performed well at school.

Andrews noted that, at BCU, 50 percent of students are of ethnic minority. However, the gap is still there.

"There's obviously something about what's happening in the way things are organised and the way things are run," he said. "It's institutional. It's beyond an individual place or act."

The BCU professor believes that the curriculum is a key factor. His own discipline, sociology, is "a collection of dead white men" according to him.

This is not the first time that the issue has raised concerns. The National Union of Students backed a student campaign called "Why is my curriculum white?" which focused on the lack of diversity in the readings assigned to students.

It was reported that the University of Winnipeg has made indigenous studies mandatory for all of its first-year students. This is part of the school's efforts to place more emphasis on teaching indigenous history and perspectives.

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