The idea has taken hold that British universities are in urgent need of radical reform to overturn entrenched racial discrimination. I don’t buy it, says Philip Hammond.
This view of the education system — largely promulgated by universities themselves — is now widely being acted on, via new staff training programmes and moves to decolonise curricula. Probably many colleagues feel that such initiatives are basically well-intentioned and designed to further a good cause — that of anti-racism. But current policies, and the underpinning claim that universities suffer from systemic racism, reflect a new understanding of racism that bears little resemblance to how most people understand the problem. Today’s approach, grounded in Critical Race Theory, promotes division, shuts down debate, and ignores key drivers of inequality.