Your selection of The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions and Meritocracy at Elite Universities by Natasha Warikoo as the book of the week (Books, 27 October) and the reporting of the London School of Economics’ conference on diversity (“End ‘polite silence’ on diversity in universities, says v-c”, News, 19 October) augment the debate on a critical aspect of diversity, namely the black-minority agenda. The felt reality of the black-minority experience underscores the empty rhetoric of the institutional response or indifference to the nuances of racism that permeate the minority-British experience. So it was courageous on the part of Pat Loughrey to challenge the “polite silence” that allows for the vocal and shameful dismissal of diversity, multiculturalism and migration value.
Institutions need to sharpen their monitoring of both attainment and failure, of representation and absence, of outcomes and missed prospects, of curriculum content and pedagogy, and of destinations or disappearance, at the level of student academic work and extracurricular effort. We need institutions to highlight the contribution of black-minority and migrant students in and out of the campus.
It is necessary to sustain a black-minority intellectual citizenry and to state unequivocally that black-minority education matters if only because our ability to better understand the world matters.
University of Essex