Challenging racism in the academy

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsSeminar/WorkshopResearch


2009 saw the tenth anniversary of the Macpherson report, a high profile report that characterised the major institutions in British society as institutionally racist and prompted a series of initiatives to combat such racism. This paper will focus on academia and will explore the mechanisms by which the British state has encouraged universities to address issues relating to equality and diversity, generally and race and ethnicity, specifically. Strategies employed by the New Labour government, first elected in 1997, designed to widen (student) participation and promote (staff) equal opportunities will be explicated. It will be argued that these colour blind measures had a very limited impact prior to their incorporation into specific duties following the Race Relations (Amendment) Act. The implementation of this legislation initially raised the profile of issues relating to race and ethnicity, but this change proved short lived and both race and ethnicity, and equality and diversity, issues have subsequently been de-prioritised and fallen down the agenda. While a series of commissioned evaluations suggest that government initiatives did make a significant difference and that universities have made progress in the last decade in promoting race equality and acknowledging ethnic diversity, deconstruction of the discourses underpinning these official evaluations reveals significant lacunae and remarkable continuities. The implications of these findings for a conceptualisation of universities as institutionally racist will be explored
Period10 Mar 2010
Event titleLeeds Metropolitan University, Centre for Research into Diversity in the Professions Seminar Series
Event typeConference
LocationLeeds, United KingdomShow on map