Oxford students are told it's not enough to be non-racist
Oxford students are told it’s not enough to be non-racist and they should aim to be actively anti-racist instead
- Revelation comes amid growing scrutiny anti-racism training does not work
- While not mandatory students told they were ‘expected to make time’ to attend
- Attendees were told being racist wasn’t enough and they must be ‘anti-racist’
Oxford undergraduates are being told that simply not being racist ‘isn’t good enough’ and they must be prepared to take action on the issue.
The revelation from a workshop at St Hugh’s College comes amid growing scrutiny about anti-racism training across the university, which critics say does not work.
While not mandatory, students were told they were ‘expected to make time’ to attend the It’s About Race event.
While not mandatory, Oxford University students were told they were ‘expected to make time’ to attend the It’s About Race event
Attendees were shown a series of slides during the session last month.
Under the heading ‘Be an anti-racist’ on one slide, they were told: ‘Are you racist? “No” isn’t a good enough answer.’
The slide stated: ‘We need to… stop thinking that injustice going on in the world isn’t to an extent are [sic] fault’, adding: ‘Stop being a non-racist and start being an anti-racist.’
Another slide encouraged a ‘commitment to action’, asking the question: ‘What is your individual contribution/commitment/pledge to tackle inequality and racism?’
Such courses are meant to question ingrained attitudes.
Theresa May, Amal Clooney and Myanmar’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi are among former St Hugh’s students
More than 120 charities are ‘wasting money’ on giving their staff ‘unconscious bias’ training despite evidence it does not work, an MP says.
Parkinson’s UK, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Red Cross are among the major names taking up courses.
At least 122 UK charities have used the training or are listed as clients of firms that provide it, a Daily Telegraph probe found. Most did not say how much they spent but day courses are advertised for £300 a person.
Tory MP Ben Bradley said: ‘It comes down to a waste of money [which] really should be put toward the purpose of the charity.’ An official report last year found the training ‘had no impact’.
But last year an official report found strong evidence ‘that such training has no sustained impact on behaviour and may even be counter-productive’ – leading many government departments to scrap the practice.
Theresa May, Amal Clooney and Myanmar’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi are among former St Hugh’s students.
One member of the college who attended the workshop said: ‘I have been let down on several fronts since I’ve been here.
‘Worst of all is the consistent emphasis of how “racist” our institution is… it is a colossal waste of time and money and does nothing but prove that Oxford is increasingly out of touch with the real world. I have seen no inkling of racism since I have been here.’
A St Hugh’s spokesman said: ‘As with all training, we are evaluating and reviewing this course.’ Last week it was reported that other Oxford colleges were offering ‘unconscious bias’ courses, despite the Government’s scepticism.
Oxford’s grandest college, Christ Church, has had compulsory training on the topic in place for ‘several years’, while Boris Johnson’s alma mater, Balliol College, also offers it.
And students at Margaret Thatcher’s old college, Somerville, were recently told they had to achieve 100 per cent in a test on the topic, until the policy was challenged by campaigners.
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