The rise and fall in the salience of race equality in higher education

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter


This chapter examines a twenty year period to explore the salience of race equality in higher education. While the dominant policy discourse has periodically drawn attention to the need to combat racial disadvantage, the only serious race equality strategy, following publication of the Macpherson report, was short lived and in the last decade race equality has virtually fallen off the policy agenda. And yet over the same period, research evidence accumulates to demonstrate that BME staff and students continue to experience considerable disadvantage. It is suggested that in the face of such evidence universities are remarkably complacent. Such complacency partly stems from the dominance in the academy and indeed of much of society of a liberal as opposed to radical perspective on equality. Universities typically see themselves as liberal and believe existing policies ensure fairness and in the process ignore adverse outcomes and do not see combating racial inequalities as a priority. This points in my view to the sheer weight of whiteness which will remain intact unless significant pressure is placed on universities to change. The chapter concludes by outlining two ideal typical approaches to the promotion of race equality and suggests that the period has witnessed the transition from an approach close to the first ideal type to an approach close to the second approach. Regardless of which approach is preferred, universities are urged to have no truck with a deficit model and to see it as their responsibility to take action to ensure more equitable outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDismantling race in higher education
Subtitle of host publicationRacism, Whiteness and Decolonising the Academy
EditorsJason Arday, Heidi Mirza
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-60261-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-60260-8
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Sept 2018


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