Following the global surge of anti-racism appeals from the Black Lives Matter movement, Cambridge University has published a letter to alumni about its attempts to promote diversity blah, blah, blah. As a former student at Cambridge University I can assure all that Cambridge was, by far, the most classist, sexist and racists institution I have ever attended in my life.
The only way that black students, women or working class students will progress or survive at Cambridge is if they act, speak, talk, think and behave like white, middle- to upper- class, British men.
If students do not act in accordance with these unwritten or unspoken rules, prejudice and stigmatism, they will be institutionally punished. This is a process many embrace as ‘Cambridge education’.
Institutional racism, classism and sexism becomes more noticeable when students bump heads with and disrupt the institution of Cambridge itself.
Young women who felt pressured to have sex with supervisors, African students who feel offended by racist themes of college balls, or PhD students threatened with legal action for not giving over half their intellectual property rights to senior staff members or not publishing with Cambridge University Press: students such as they will find that as they appeal to Cambridge University the instant will slowly closes ranks and fall back on a very ridged set of well-rehearsed Public Awareness strategies which effectively manages to brush everything under the carpet – including those students subject Cambridge’s institutional racism, sexism or classism.
The good news is that the people in power at Cambridge University will encourage female or transgender applicants, fund working class or black students to change the system. The bad news is that those students will most likely never get to become decision makers or people in power.
There can be no improvement made to a system that historically and systemically ejects criticisms – although strong criticism should be valued as virtuous and progressive scientific practice. My advice is this: if you want to avoid structurally embedded racism, classism and sexism, then avoid Cambridge University.