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Canada Girl
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#21
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#21
exactly. if a group of people are constantly depicted as unmotivated gangsters in the media and racist teachers have low expectations, how do you expect students from marginalized backgrounds (such as black people) to succeed. i think what's more important is to blame less on 'culture/home background' per se, but more on systemic inequities in societies that still persist, albeit 'undercover' at times. in Canada, for instance, we're known as 'polite racists'. terms like that make me so bloody angry. I hope schemes like GEEMA are somewhat successful, but it can never be entirely until there is a change in societal attitudes in general.

(Original post by Tina)
ye i think its a combination of things culture/home background is v important but also teachers attitudes/racism can play a part...if a teacher doesnt expect a black student to do well this can affect their education...like a self fulfilling prophecy
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Tina
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#22
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(Original post by Canada Girl)
exactly. if a group of people are constantly depicted as unmotivated gangsters in the media and racist teachers have low expectations, how do you expect students from marginalized backgrounds (such as black people) to succeed. i think what's more important is to blame less on 'culture/home background' per se, but more on systemic inequities in societies that still persist, albeit 'undercover' at times. in Canada, for instance, we're known as 'polite racists'. terms like that make me so bloody angry. I hope schemes like GEEMA are somewhat successful, but it can never be entirely until there is a change in societal attitudes in general.
very true...any problem with oxbridge is a microcosm of society as a whole
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Mentally Ill
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#23
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#23
(Original post by Canada Girl)
exactly. if a group of people are constantly depicted as unmotivated gangsters in the media and racist teachers have low expectations, how do you expect students from marginalized backgrounds (such as black people) to succeed. i think what's more important is to blame less on 'culture/home background' per se, but more on systemic inequities in societies that still persist, albeit 'undercover' at times. in Canada, for instance, we're known as 'polite racists'. terms like that make me so bloody angry. I hope schemes like GEEMA are somewhat successful, but it can never be entirely until there is a change in societal attitudes in general.
GEEMA is very successful in getting black people to apply....the only problem is that they rarely get in.
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Canada Girl
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#24
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#24
very interesting. b/c in Canada aboriginal popns have been historically so exploited, Canadian unis give them different standards for acceptance into some programs where they are under-represented (meds, law, undergrad degrees). a lot of it has to do with the gov't trying to 'fix' the legacy of colonialism.

(Original post by Mentally Ill)
GEEMA is very successful in getting black people to apply....the only problem is that they rarely get in.
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Tina
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#25
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(Original post by Canada Girl)
very interesting. b/c in Canada aboriginal popns have been historically so exploited, Canadian unis give them different standards for acceptance into some programs where they are under-represented (meds, law, undergrad degrees). a lot of it has to do with the gov't trying to 'fix' the legacy of colonialism.
you mean like positive discrimination....well that seems a little unfair....candidates should still be judged on academic ability/potential.
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Jamie
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#26
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#26
(Original post by Tina)
i kinda expected someting along those lines...well its a fact that institutional racism still exists in many places, im not saying cambridge is racist but i do think that there may still be problems. besides many people especially ethnic minorities may get put off applying to oxbridge because of stereotypes about the places.
I remember a really funny article in the Varsity (a cambridge student newspaper for non-cams) by some guy ****ging off the rowing team, saying that all the top athletes are black, but you never see black guys on the boats in the river, hence we are institutionally racist.
Next week in the letters section was a letter from the cambridge university rowing president saying "Hello, I'm black"
J
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Mentally Ill
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#27
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(Original post by Tina)
you mean like positive discrimination....well that seems a little unfair....candidates should still be judged on academic ability/potential.
I concur
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Bumblebee3
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#28
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#28
Bear in mind that whilst Oxbridge access has a lot to work on, cultural bias/capital begins right back in primary and secondary school which is where the problem must begin to be tackled.
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Canada Girl
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#29
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#29
Yes, that was the point I was trying to make. I also agree with past statements that any sort of discrimination (note: discrimination is NEVER positive in my eyes) is unfair, but it's some compensation for generations of countless exploitations/atrocities to certain groups of people. Because issues like racism continue to be systemic, I take solace that at least some gov'ts are taking some responsibility to lessen the problem. Aboriginals don't just walk off the street into programs, but admissions also does not (and CANNOT) assess them by the same criteria by those of us who are advantaged or privileged. Until the problem is tackled at the primary and secondary school levels, as Haz says, children continue to recieve inequitable education and opportunities. However, I also believe that candidates who gain admission into programs should also have capability and potential. For the lazy reader (wink, wink--I feel really strongly about certain issues): I firmly support ACCESS to justice, and realize that there are many routes to obtaining this.

(Original post by Haz)
Bear in mind that whilst Oxbridge access has a lot to work on, cultural bias/capital begins right back in primary and secondary school which is where the problem must begin to be tackled.
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neildm
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#30
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#30
(Original post by Tina)
you mean like positive discrimination....well that seems a little unfair....candidates should still be judged on academic ability/potential.
Hmmm... I may be raising hell here, but if you think they should be judged on academic potential, and within the group of black applicants to Cambridge very few get in, would you be inferring that the few black applicants that do apply do not have academic potential???
Thats a case for positive discrimination, which I believe in btw.
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Jamie
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#31
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#31
(Original post by neildm)
Hmmm... I may be raising hell here, but if you think they should be judged on academic potential, and within the group of black applicants to Cambridge very few get in, would you be inferring that the few black applicants that do apply do not have academic potential???
Thats a case for positive discrimination, which I believe in btw.
I know 3 black students in cambridge, and one of them (a fresher i might add) is an English student who has already ahd 3 successful books published. Aint no positive discrimination going on there!
J
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Mentally Ill
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#32
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#32
(Original post by neildm)
Hmmm... I may be raising hell here, but if you think they should be judged on academic potential, and within the group of black applicants to Cambridge very few get in, would you be inferring that the few black applicants that do apply do not have academic potential???
Thats a case for positive discrimination, which I believe in btw.

Well, provdided you accept that tutors can judge academic potential correctly, and they do so fairly, then the fact that only a few black applicants, out of many, have the necessary potential suggests that many of the black applicants simply do not have the academic potential.

So either (i) the tutors are bad judges or racist or (ii) inadequate black applicants are being encouraged to apply. I think most of you will think it is the former, but I am convinced it is the latter.

I would guess that success of the iniatives to encourage black people to apply is based on applications and not acceptance. Therefore, it is in the iniative's workers interests to encourage inadequate applicants to apply.

Postive discrimination is unfair.
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neildm
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#33
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#33
(Original post by foolfarian)
I know 3 black students in cambridge, and one of them (a fresher i might add) is an English student who has already ahd 3 successful books published. Aint no positive discrimination going on there!
J
Gah! I obviously didn't make myself clear. I don't mean that there IS positive discrimination at Cam, I'm saying there SHOULD BE! Because of the unnatural acceptance rate, positive discrimination SHOULD BE practised unless you think that all the people currently applying that don't get in really don't deserve a place. In which case people should stop being shocked about the low acceptance rate because it can mean only two things - they think black people have less potential, or that more of the people applying do actually deserve places, and that makes the case for positive discrimination!
Comprenez?
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neildm
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#34
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#34
It is NOT in the initiative worker's interests to encourage INADEQUATE black applicants to apply. Its in their interest to encourage applicants to apply - their abilities should follow a normal distribution. There is big difference between acceptance rates for black applicants and chinese, indian and white applicants. I don't believe racism is the cause - I think tutors will have a very hard time comprehending the different backgrounds students come from, and culture is a problem here. Bad judgement, yes. Go positive discrimination! Abilities are normally distributed, and while I do think access organisations have a long way to go to get larger numbers of students to apply, positive discrimination should be used in moderation or we'll have another generation where the majority of the poor remains poor.
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zoe_catlin
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#35
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#35
(Original post by AdamAbdelAziz)
Just wondering about what people thought about the programme that was just aired on BBC2 following black undergraduates around Cambridge.

Its absoloutely shocking that out of 12 000 undergraduates only 84 are black. unbelievable!!

What does everyone think???

I was going to apply to Cambridge this year (I am a black british woman), but having watched the documentary, I think not!! It has actually put me off, and I don't think that I would feel comfortable in an institution which isn't representative of the society in which I am living. Just out of interest how many dreadlocked black rastafarians do they have as undergraduates. I think none is probably the answer!!
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Alaric
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#36
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I think the problem is that there aren't enough applying, and I doubt the problem is a majority of them being rejected at interview. I'd suggest that the initiatives encourage anyone who'd be interested in a graduate based career to apply.
I don't want to stereotype, but it seems that a large proportion of people who would be regarded as black live in what would be regarded as deprived areas. Thereby not getting the quality of education, motivation or whatever that a home counties middle class white person would probably get. That's the education system seriously failing the young people of our generation in my opinion.

I think someone needs to explain to them that it isn't just grades that oxbridge is looking for, and that it is something more innate. And were oxbridge to judge well they should probably also lower the expected grades for those who don't have a typical quality of education since there's no apparent reason why someone with innate ability and motivation shouldn't excel here. Regardless of their colour.

Basically I think it reduces to a problem of the class system, and the disparities between service provision - such as education. Culture is also a problem, and there may be a question to answer in general about who we have as peers these days, such as the ridiculous obsession with celebrity that this country seems to be in now.

It certainly isn't an easy situation to get out of, and to some extent I feel that oxbridge shouldn't have to take a proactive approach - the schools system is rubbish in so many ways and they should be delivering the candidates.
Sadly I don't see that happening any time soon, so proactive initiatives are necessary and welcome.

Alaric.
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Alaric
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#37
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(Original post by zoe_catlin)
I was going to apply to Cambridge this year (I am a black british woman), but having watched the documentary, I think not!! It has actually put me off, and I don't think that I would feel comfortable in an institution which isn't representative of the society in which I am living. Just out of interest how many dreadlocked black rastafarians do they have as undergraduates. I think none is probably the answer!!
Do you not feel that by choosing not to apply you are only perpetuating the current situation of unrepresentation?

And that will only create further people unwilling to go as well ensuring the disparity remains. As soon as the numbers are representative would it not be more likely to stay that way?

I for one would welcome you to apply.

I don't recall ever seeing a dreadlocked black rastafarian studying at cambridge, but I'd like to.

Alaric.
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neildm
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#38
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#38
<BR>
Don't be like that. Please don't base your decision on a tv documentary. Go there, meet the students and profs and then decide for God's sake!
If you're smart enough you'll realise that this is a self-fulfilling prophesy (people like you see few black people there and don't apply, surprise surprise the situation doesn't change) and you can break the cycle! (if you choose to)
<BR>
Go for whats best for you - what'll be best for your future. Don't turn Cambridge down cos it has too few people from your race, turn it down cos the course isn't right for you or you'll be doing your own career an injustice.
<BR>
I'm a minority (not black) too, but I can't wait to get to Cambridge and meet new people from new cultures etc. Understand that problems like these don't turn around immediately and access programmes take time to work.
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Mentally Ill
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#39
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#39
(Original post by zoe_catlin)
I was going to apply to Cambridge this year (I am a black british woman), but having watched the documentary, I think not!! It has actually put me off, and I don't think that I would feel comfortable in an institution which isn't representative of the society in which I am living. Just out of interest how many dreadlocked black rastafarians do they have as undergraduates. I think none is probably the answer!!

You wouldnt get into Oxbrige with that attitude anyway. They like independent thinkers.....if you simply decide not to apply because of a one hour long documentary presenting a potentially incorrect picture, then you clearly do not have the ability to think for yourself. Go to Cambridge, talk to tutors, talk to the students, get involved - then decide FOR YOURSELF.

I know for a FACT that oxbridge have made an offer to a candidate whose gcse grades were A*,A*,BBB,CCC,D. Grades are important (so work hard), but they are not the be all and end all.

How do you expect the institution to represent us if you are not willing to start the ball rolling? Black people will not flock to Oxbridge in their tens and hundreds; they will come in slowly, one by one.

If you think you have what it takes, then work hard and apply. If the tutors agree (and beleive me, the vast majority are NOT racist - in fact, quite the opposite!), then your likely to get in. If you get in, then that'll be 13 black students. Others will be inspired and gradually it will become an institution representative of the society you live in.

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naelse
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#40
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I'm a black woman myself, and I have to say that the program only inspired me to work harder, to get my grades for Cambridge this august and to make things better for the next generation.

But it is true that potential black Oxbridge applicants come up to a lot of opposition. When I told my (white) ex last year that I was thinking of Cambridge, his response was "You'll definitely get in- they need black people to make up the numbers!" Frankly that idea nearly put me off completely. "Positive descrimination" is nothing but a quick-fix. I've worked hard all my life to get scholarships for private schooling etc to help me reach my goals. There's nothing more insulting than being defined by your colour or background at the end of all that. Unfortunately, too many people don't see it that way.

I thought I's get support from the black community, but I haven't. My (black) neighbour came to my flat in a blind rage because she found out I was applying to Cambridge. Apparently, I was letting black people down because "we don't belong there" and "you'll only end up marrying a white rich boy". And so what if I do??

To be honest, there's rascism on both sides and change is only going to come when both black and white people change their attitudes. It will take a long time, but I know that I'll teach my children to go for thier ambitions nomatter what anybody else tells them- and hopefully that's two or three more people in the next generation with the guts to break with tradition and stick two fingers up at the status quo.
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