Why are Oxford and Cambridge Still Bastions of Privilege?

A recent freedom of information request from David Lammy MP led to him commenting that Oxford and Cambridge operate a form of ‘social apartheid‘. Two of the most stark statistics are below:

  • More than 80% of offers go to the top two social class, the children of barristers, doctors and CEOS, many of whom are privately educated and from the South East.
  • In 2015, one in five colleges at Cambridge and one in five at Oxford failed to admit a single black A-level student.

Writing in The Independent, Tom Rasmussen suggested that this was because people who work in admissions in Oxford and Cambridge are disproportionately from privileged white backgrounds, and so fail to grasp the challenges that people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds face.

Labelling at Cambridge

A second possible reason, according to The Observer, is that the independent schools themselves are institutions of white privilege.

Cambridge and Oxford respond to the above by saying that they’re not institutionally racist, pointing out that they recruit plenty of Indian, Pakistani and Chinese A-level students, and that the simple truth of the matter is that only a few hundred black Britons achieve the required 3 As at A-level.

Discussion Question

Given the above – do you think that Oxford and Cambridge should practice ‘positive discrimination’ and recruit more black A-level students?

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One Response to Why are Oxford and Cambridge Still Bastions of Privilege?

  1. Yes, they should. This system of priviledge has been function for hundreds of years. Therefore, disadvantaging specific people over time. Positive discrimination is the least they could do.

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