Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A lack of Black Students at Oxbridge?

An article by the Labour MP David Lammy, The Oxbridge Whitewash has highlighted what at first appears to be a shocking case of institutionalised racism from our top 2 universities. On closer inspection though, what it actually demonstrates is that the vast majority of black students fall into the group of students that would never make it to Oxford and Cambridge regardless of race. In other words, they grow up in disadvantaged areas, they attend below average schools and achieve below average grades. It is not Oxford and Cambridge being racist as such, it is just that they have a lack of black students that meet the criteria.

That isn't the fault of the universities, it is the result of generations of underfunding in inner city areas, it is the result of a bloated welfare state and a legacy of the racism that once existed, a legacy that will take many, many years to finally disappear.

The article is interesting and raises some valid questions. However, David Lammy has shot himself in the foot. By writing this, all he has done is to highlight that New Labour failed black school children. Had they done more for them, Oxbridge may have been welcoming more and more to their colleges this year.

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