Accusations of alleged reverse racism and segregation as SOAS students call for white philosophers to be dropped from curriculum
- Students at SOAS said under-representation among staff made them ‘isolated’
- The comments were published in a report called Degrees of Racism by the union
- It was investigating why BME students got worse degrees than their white peers
- The report said academics ‘must be prepared to acknowledge that they are capable of racism’
- Accusations of hypocrisy and alleged reverse racism against SOAS probity-ringer students
Students at University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) are calling for white philosophers to be largely removed from the curriculum to better represent the university’s focus on Asia and Africa.
Lecturers who are white men are unable to teach black and minority ethnic (BME) people, students at SOAS have complained.
This has outraged other students at universities within the UK who have been making a stand confronting the scourge of far left-wing probity-ringer liberal elite Marxist militant anti-democratic student unions who have been accused of alleged anti-Semitism and totalitarian Communist Political Correctness and tyrannical left-wing fascism.
The students, who are studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), said under-representation of black people among the teaching staff, relative to the student body, made students feel ‘isolated’, unable to engage with their studies and lecturers.
The comments were taken from interviews with students by the SOAS Student Union, which is part of the University of London, and submitted in a report which was researching into why less black and minority ethnic (BME) students achieve 2:1 or first class degrees than their white peers.
The report, called Degrees of Racism, said BME students’ confidence and engagement during their studies is affected by ‘racial exclusion and discrimination in the learning and teaching environment at SOAS’.
It added that this is due to combination of many factors, including a ‘white curriculum’, BME students being ‘excluded’ from classroom discussions and both other students and teachers had said ‘explicitly racist comments’ to BME students.
When describing ‘barriers’ students face when they want to access support from lecturers and tutors, it said: ‘Non-white students were comparatively less likely than their peers to be able to access the advantages of cultural familiarity with their tutor.
‘Some felt it unrealistic to expect their white tutors to be able to empathise with their problems, especially those who had experienced racial abuse in comparable settings in the past.
‘For non-white students from working-class backgrounds, the gap in life experience was sometimes compounded.’
This statement was followed by quotes from students who said:
• ‘Both of my tutors are white men. How can I really … have a rapport and feel comfortable talking to a 60 year old white man…’
• ‘I find it hard to tell a white teacher my problems.’
• ‘Most teachers come from privileged backgrounds which [some] BME students can’t relate to.’
The union’s report suggested that lecturers ‘must be prepared to acknowledge that… they are capable of racism, and should be prepared to discuss how’ as a way to combat the issues their students face.
However, the report face a backlash from other academics.
Sir Anthony Seldon, 63, vice-chancellor of Buckingham University, told The Sunday Times: ‘White people can’t teach BME students? Really? I think this claim is unfair and untrue and disrespectful to universities and members of staff. We are human beings, first, second, third, fourth, fifth.’
The report comes after students demanded figures as Plato, Descartes, Immanuel Kant and Bertrand Russell should be largely dropped from the curriculum simply because they are white.
The union said studying philosophy ‘the majority of philosophers on our courses’ should be from Africa and Asia.
A spokesperson for SOAS said: ‘While the recommendations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the view of the whole SOAS community, they have helped to spark productive debate. We value the contributions of all our staff and students to these conversations.
‘We want to make sure that the higher education experience is a positive one for students from all backgrounds.’
He added that questions of diversity and inclusion are ‘integrated’ across the work of the university, and the school has commissioned a report looking at the attainment gap with the University of East London.
Dr Deborah Johnston, pro-director (Learning and Teaching) at SOAS, said: ‘We attach a great deal of importance to our diverse community here at SOAS. It enables a wide range of perspectives to be brought into the classroom, which greatly benefits and enriches the academic debates and discussions. Our diversity is something of which we are very proud.’