Not racist - a realist

March 18, 2005

In response to Timothy Insoll's letter last week (itself a response to my article on the need for black studies in the UK), let me state that black studies is a subject for study, a discipline, and it is not "racist or segregationist" to have some black British scholars make a contribution to teaching it.

My article was primarily about the exclusion of black British scholars in the UK and why many have gone abroad (the question of whether white scholars should teach black studies is for another article).

The 1999 Lawrence report acknowledged that British society suffers endemic institutional racism, and history shows there is a pattern of "racialised exclusion" of black perspectives in British higher education and distinct barriers to black academics who teach and research from this point of view.

To suggest I am racist or segregationist ignores the social reality of black people's experience in Britain. Insoll defensively and naively accuses me of reverse racism.

Mark Christian.
Associate professor of black world studies and sociology.
Miami University,
Oxford,
Ohio.

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