Britain’s first ‘Black Studies’ professor, Dr Kehinde Andrews, spoke out against racism at a recent conference held at Goldsmith’s University.
At the conference – which was held in celebration of Black History Month – Andrews voiced critique of British Universities, which he views to be ‘no less institutionally racist than the police force’. Andrews claims that institutional racism, lies within the historical origins of our universities, which were not built to include ethnic minorities or house critical thought which challenges the ‘white curriculum’.
What is most problematic, is the inability to recognise the role of the university as a ‘master’s house’, a site of racism and exclusion. A blindness to this is ‘regressive’, especially as universities do not encourage a production of knowledge which could challenge racism both internal and external to the institution. Andrews highlighted that instead, the curriculum tends to revolve around the philosophies of ‘dead white men’.
According to Andrews, institutional racism, not only creates an imbalance in thought but also determines the grounds of entry to a university and has an effect on degree results. Andrews argues that there is an ‘attainment gap’ evident up and down the league table – even where 50% of students are ethnic minorities. Such figures, indicate that there is a fixed institutional bias not exclusively relative to a specific ‘individual place or act’.
Such issues and biases within academic institutions motivated the campaign for the UK’s first ‘Black Studies’ programme. The BCU course, is to inspire black critical thought and academic excellence.