The numbers BAME
The latest admissions figures show that slow progress is being made in the representation of BAME populations in higher education. One fifth of Oxford’s new students are not just students, but students of colour. This 22.1% (up from 14.5%) represents an increase of 50%.
In the wider university community, BAME students now represent 26.2% of the student body. And already, white supremacists and their allies are up in arms to complain that things have gone Too Far. As our readership will appreciate, this kind of insensitive, privileged attitude represents nothing less than discriminatory violence against black and minority ethnic student bodies.
Aggressions, microaggressions, and statistics
Indeed, merely examining the facts of the matter would lead one to conclude that representation has, at last, been reached. And even exceeded. BAME communities, despite being just 13% of the population in the 2011 UK census, are overrepresented at a rate of around 2:1 on university campuses. After adjusting for youth and growing population, we estimate BAME are 18% of 18-21 year olds in 2020, meaning over-representation is around 20%
But as dedicated followers of the Institute will know, the facts don’t tell the whole story. While it may appear that the number of Non-white students in the UK currently far outstrips proportional representation, we must reckon with a history of colonialism, slavery, racism, white supremacy, and the Othering of marginalised groups. This demands some degree of fractional restitution for past wrongs.
The Institute prides itself on its commitment to an equitable world. We therefore follow the dictum that any action which promotes equity should be considered in a positive light. Given past racial and cultural injustices perpetrated by the colonial system of subjugation and oppression of peoples of colour, it must be concluded that what appears to represent a vast overrepresentation, when adjusted to take account of current equity and past inequity, in fact represents a continued underrepresentation.
A calculated solution to incalculable injustices
Until recently, the diversity of underrepresented and marginalised communities – and the diversity of the abuses perpetrated upon them and their bodies by white violence – was such that it would be impossible to fully catalogue past wrongs which can only be atoned for through restorative admissions and equity-development programmes.
Thanks to advances in big data analytics and machine learning, however, the Institute is now able to unveil a fully comprehensive algorithm for the calculation of specific weighted representation of minority communities in the education system. Our analysis is not only multivariate, but also non-linear.
Of colouring outside the lines
Although proprietary, the model draws on data gathered from numerous sources – both public domain, and from the Institute’s own primary research into shared healing initiatives.
We’ve adopted a polydimensional approach, considering both the more notorious injustices and the impacts of ongoing daily microaggressions. Accounting for such atrocities as the continuing legacy of slavery, the pernicious effects of Rwandan genocide denial on the Twa and Tutsi communities, and the overrepresentation of people of colour in prison populations. We at the Institute don’t believe in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and will therefore not quote crime statistics here, nor will we link to the Office of National Statistics. Feelings do not care about your facts.
Although facts don’t tell the whole story, we can and should use facts in our corrective efforts. After defunding the police, the only way we can fix the systematic overrepresentation of minorities in criminality is via education. Not equality-opportunity education, but education that is affirmatively and correctively applied.
The current system causes minorities to be overrepresented in crime, and underrepresented in prestigious schooling. This needs to be reversed, and the reversal needs to be radical. We want the percentage of our taught minorities to be taught in university to exceed 60%. We live in a society where we aim for R0<1. Let us aim for “our-taught” > 1.66.
The foundations underlying the derivation of this heuristic are not as important as its intended consequences: the liberation of certain demographics via the vector of education.
Towards an eventual remedy
But it is not simply a matter of reaching the above threshold and declaring racism over. Once the corrective level of representation is attained for the population as a whole, it should be stratified by age. Thereafter, it should be further stratified by gender, which will be more complex given that gender is a continuous variable and not merely a binary categorisation.
This solution is just one drop in the ocean and a very small gesture towards the vital quest of racial healing and togetherness for all those who are of Colour.
We do not think the above is enough to address hundreds of years of historic injustices against Bodies of Colour, but we hope it is enough to trigger the facilitation of a dialogue.