Many British people are ignorant about how racism works. Yet when black people try to explain, our experience is denied, says Guardian columnist Afua Hirsch
When Usman Kayani chose to do a PhD in theoretical physics at King’s College London, he felt sure an academic career lay ahead of him. Now two months after completing his doctorate, having suffered from anxiety and depression, he is considering other options.
At first Kayani was the only student who was either black, Asian or from an ethnic minority (BAME) in his research group. Although the group later became a bit more diverse he remembers how that feeling of being different, coupled with a lack of BAME academics and professors he could look up to as role models, contributed to his feelings of anxiety.
“It didn’t help my imposter syndrome. I do feel the lack of representation can put people off a career in academia. It’s a vicious cycle,” he says. “My dream was always to stay in academia. Now I don’t know what I want to do and I feel a bit lost.”
As a BAME student, Kayani was defying the odds by doing doctoral research at all. According to an analysis by the Higher Education Funding Council for England in 2016, BAME students are more likely than white students to decide to take a master’s course but less likely to do a PhD. The research found that 2.4% of white students had started a PhD within five years of graduation, compared to 1.3% of their BAME peers.
Last month the UK Council for Graduate Education launched an in depth review looking to establish why more BAME graduates aren’t progressing onto PhDs. The review, which will report next year, will conduct a detailed analysis of student data to understand trends for researching, qualification rates and funding for different ethnicities, as well as to highlight existing schemes which are encouraging participation rates for BAME students.
The fact that more young black students aren’t choosing to do doctorates doesn’t surprise Lynette Goddard, a black academic at Royal Holloway, University of London. She says that in 21 years as an academic she has only supervised three black PhD students. “That tells you something,” she says. When she announced her promotion on her Facebook page, someone commented: “I was never taught by a black lecturer at university so it didn’t occur to me I could do that.”
With Brexit and a global recession looming, the UK needs the talents of enterprising overseas students more than ever. But the outlook is gloomy: there’s been a sharp decline in entrepreneurship among immigrants since the EU referendum. While that’s perhaps unsurprising given the anti-immigration rhetoric that Brexit has spawned, it’s bad news for our economy. Recent data shows that immigrants are more likely to start a business than people born in the UK (13% compared to 8%), and while 14% of UK residents are foreign-born, 49% of fast growing businesses had at least one foreign-born founder.
Despite this, the government has recently changed the rules on which international students are able to stay in the UK after graduation to start a business. While there are some positives, there is a danger that many of the successful entrepreneurs who were endorsed under the previous scheme – such as photographer booking website Perfocal, glasses retailer Specscart and sports travel agency Homefans – would now be excluded.
University staff will be more than £200,000 worse off under new pension arrangements as a result of rising contributions and reduced benefits, according to analysis for the University and College Union.
On the eve of a new ballot over strike action at British universities, the UCU published research claiming that a typical member of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) would pay £40,000 more into their pension but receive almost £200,000 less in retirement as a result of changes introduced since 2011.
The strike ballot is due to open on 9 September at 69 universities with UCU members in the pension scheme and will run until the end of October. Last year more than 40,000 staff took part in sustained and unprecedented strike action over their pensions that brought campuses to a standstill.
International students who stay and work in the UK for a decade after graduation contribute £3.2bn in extra tax revenues, research has revealed.
The first major report into the boost overseas students give the economy found non-UK graduates do not take jobs from local residents, because they largely obtain work in highly qualified areas such as economics or science, or in sectors that suffer acute shortages, such as teaching and nursing.
The study by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) and the consultancy London Economics found that in the 10 years after graduation, the EU and overseas students who remain from a single year’s cohort will pay an estimated £3.2bn in income tax, VAT, national insurance and other revenues to the exchequer.
A very sad state of affairs and yes, it could and possibly will be imported from the US to the Uk, as many undesirable actions are.
More from a growing pile of already abundant evidence that Betsy DeVos should not be in charge of education in America. Actually, I wouldn’t trust her to run a pre-school or kindergarten. In this piece from The Young Turks, Jeff Waldorf reports and comments on the move by DeVos to rescind the 72 official documents, which explain to students and their parents, what the rights of disabled people are when they go to Uni. American universities are granted money by the federal government to support the needs of disabled students. DeVos hasn’t revoked these. She’s just making sure that disabled students, their carers and relatives, don’t know what they are.
One of these documents translates the official jargon of the legislation into ordinary plain English, so that regular peeps don’t need a lawyer to interpret it for them. Now it’s gone, things are going to be made difficult so that…
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I’m aware that I’m in serious risk of doing this subject to death, but this needs to be said. I’ve put up several blogs featuring the videos of talks and interviews given by Israeli and American Jewish activists and historians – Ilan Pappe, Elizabeth Baltzer and Norman Finkelstein, laying bare the terrible history of Israel’s persecution and systematic ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population. As I’ve repeatedly said, this is because of the smears against leading figures in the Labour party that they are anti-Semites, when they are nothing of the sort, and demonstrably nothing of the sort. Ken Leninspart, when he was leader of the GLC, was notorious and reviled for his anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia stance. And if you want to read what he has to say about anti-Semitism, it’s written down in his book, Livingstone’s Labour. He decries it as one of the worst forms of…
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Mike over at Vox Political has written about how the latest sputtering from the new head of the DWP have effectively ended satire. Stephen Crabb, apparently an expert on such diseases, has declared that sufferers of brain tumours and progressive degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone are able to work. And so, presumably, they should not get any PIP or ESA, but the normal jobseeker’s allowance, until they are eventually sanctioned for not trying hard enough to get a job.
Mike states that this is beyond satire, because he commented in an earlier post about Crabb’s bizarre views on homosexuality. Crabb believed that homosexuality could be cured, and supported CARE, a Christian organisation that claimed it could cure gay people. In fact, gay cures don’t work. There have been a series of scandals in American involving these organisations, as well as concerns in the UK apart the potential harm…
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No freedom of choice, a police or political state?